Hartford Unity & Pride Rally: It’s About Being Able To Be Who We Are

Yours truly, The Divine Miss Bri up close and personal at the Unity and Pride Rally in Hartford

On Sunday, June 11, a diverse group of people representing the LGBTQ community and our supporters gathered on the back steps of the state capitol building in Hartford to stand in solidarity with the main rally in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Hartford Capital City Pride and CLARO (Connecticut Latinas/os Achieving Rights and Opportunities), this rally provided an opportunity to celebrate who we are and find the inspiration to keep up the fight until all of us everywhere have the right to be who we are.

Standing out there in 90 degree heat Sunday

My sign for the rally!

afternoon, we were both one and many. We recognized how fortunate we are to live in Connecticut, where the LGBTQ community enjoys rights and protections that are rare in other states. But we also know that we have to stay vigilant and engaged to assure that no one can take those rights away. We also have an obligation to fight for the rights of those outside of our state, because it’s vital that we all stand together.

Pastor Louis Mitchell, trans man and activist, speaking at the rally.

Sometimes we tend to lose sight of the fact that the rights we enjoy today did not come easy. They did not come without pain, without sacrifice. From the Stonewall Riots  that occurred 48 years ago this month through the horrors of AIDS to today, pioneers stood up and defied the efforts of so-called “normal” society to make us go away. Now it is up to those of us who have benefited from their sacrifices to move forward to continue the momentum.

I confess that this rally shook me out of my comfort zone

Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy S. Wyman speaking at the rally

and made me realize what we need to be fighting for. Unlike many members of the trans community, I have had it very easy. I am surrounded by mostly “straight” friends who accept me as me without reservation. It is a level of caring and acceptance that I wish others could experience. And, therein lies the crux of the message from today. It is up to those of us here and now to keep pushing the boundaries so that others can share what we have — love, acceptance and the freedom to be who we are.

Some of the crowd in attendance at the rally

Yes, we are different … and we’re damned proud of it! We’re all different races, genders, religions, sexual orientations. Hell, we’re a freakin’ rainbow of humanity! However, there is one thing we share with other groups, from women to seniors to the poor, and that’s the fight for equality of treatment, and equality of opportunity. Some fights are too big to stand alone when we can be stronger together.

I am still adjusting to the role of an activist, though I’ve really been pretty open

One of our emcees for the rally! Love that hat!

about being a trans woman, because I want people who’ve never met a trans person to understand that we’re not a threat — we don’t sprinkle stuff in their drinks to make them want to change genders, we don’t molest children (or anyone else) and we just want the right to be who we are.

It was inspiring to be a part of today’s rally which featured so many members of the LGBTQ community, including Pastor Louis Mitchell, a trans man I had met before on several occasions and Hartford Commission on LGBT Issues member Kamora Herrington, as well as our Lt. Governor and the Mayor of Hartford.

Another crowd shot from the rally.

For all my brothers and sisters in the community as well as those who support us, I wish you Peace, Love and Strength to carry on the fight in Unity and Pride!

The Divine Miss Bri

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Put A Little Love In Your Heart This Easter

New beginnings. Re-birth. Spring. Hope. And, most importantly, love. Today, we celebrate another Easter. In the Christian faith, it is the promise of eternal life as Jesus rose from the dead. But what is the real message that we take away from this holiday?

While I have preached in a church before, this is not a sermon. It is simply an opportunity to share a wish for today. As we celebrate the Resurrection, there is a simple message in this act — love. God loved the world so he sacrificed his only son for us. Jesus loved us so much that he died for our sins so we could have a chance at salvation.

Jesus did not lead a massive army of holy warriors to strike down sinners. Jesus did not set himself apart from those others deemed unworthy and chastise them for being poor. Jesus told us to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” But why did he say that is the second most important commandment after “love thy God with all thy heart?” I believe that it is the crucial test of our beliefs and one too many self-proclaimed Christians fail. That’s because it is much easier to hate someone than it is to love them as they are. Very similar to the differences between the light and dark sides of the Force in Star Wars, if you prefer a more contemporary analogy.

In truth, this message transcends denominations, regions, nationalities, races, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, social status, financial means and political affiliations. Hate is easy … and dangerous. Love is hard, but brings with it hope and peace.

So today, I’ll leave you with a wish embodied in this song from my teenage years by Jackie DeShannon, Put A Little Love In Your Heart.

Happy Easter!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

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