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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 4 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 27
INSIGHTS & PERSPECTIVES: 'Manna from Heaven'
Section One
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INSIGHTS & PERSPECTIVES: 'Manna from Heaven'

by Michael Raitt - SGN Contributing Writer

The other day I got a good laugh because someone was telling me how excited they were to be going to the Cyndi Lauper/Cher concert on Pride weekend. 'Having them both here on Pride is like manna from heaven' they exclaimed.

I smiled; then I thought to myself about why this is so meaningful. Cyndi Lauper and Cher have both been allies of the GLBTQ community for many years. I know nothing of their personal stories or experiences related to GLBTQ people, yet I know their art has been a part of our community and our identities going further back than I care to recall - or can recall for that fact.

Our community has made tremendous gains in legal and social recognition in recent history. Pride is a celebration of 'Us' - GLBTQ men, women, and youth of all ages. Thinking about Ms. Lauper and Cher reminded me that 'Us' is becoming a much larger group. More than ever, Us includes our allies.

Make no mistake, individual GLBTQ men and women have contributed blood, sweat, and tears to move our community out of the shadows of hatred. Their work has been crucial. Yet, without our allies standing with us, we'd likely be years behind where we are today.

Our allies are people who love us and include us in their lives. They see our value in society. They see the pain that some of us have experienced and they want to help make our society such that we no longer experience violence or discrimination. Their jobs being politicians, celebrities, a CEO, or President of the United States, afford them the influence to make substantial societal changes for which we are all grateful. Yet, they too, are men and women as we are.

Our less famous allies are no less important. They are our friends, neighbors, parents, peers, and siblings. They are a generation of younger people who are growing up with critical minds and seeing that discrimination of GLBTQ people is wrong. They take stands with school systems and support their peers against the painful experiences of bullying. They talk to their parents and clergy about giving up irrational fears of a group of people who have been apart of families and society for countless generations.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines manna as: '2. anything badly needed that comes unexpectedly.' More than any time in history, we have what we've badly needed for years - allies. Allies who speak out publically and who stand against the fear-based push to maintain discriminatory values and policies.

All of Us have much to be proud of and to celebrate this season. Be mindful of where we are in history and who walked confidently beside us on this journey.

Be proud, be safe, have fun. Happy Pride to all of Us.

Michael Raitt, MA LMHC, is a Therapist and a Contributing Writer to the SGN. He writes a bi-monthly column in the SGN. If you would like to comment on this column, ask a question you'd like him to write about, or suggest another topic of interest, please contact him at askingmichael@comcast.net .

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