This is pride month, which celebrates and honors the beauty and innate dignity of all LGBTQI+ folks and the power of queer community. Pride celebrates the great progress our society has made in the long struggle with centuries of accumulated harm and violence. Let’s celebrate the laws that allow people to live the way they choose. Yet, 240 anti-LGBT bills have been filed so far in 2022, mostly targeting trans people. There is still widespread prejudice; this is not over. Imagine being afraid to walk down the street holding hands with your sweetheart because you’re scared you’ll be beaten up. Imagine being forced to leave your small town to go to a big city so you can feel relatively safe. Imagine fearing your marriage could be null & void with the next Supreme Court ruling.
Buddhist texts begin with the phrase, “Oh nobly born, you who are the children of the awakened ones, remember who you really are.” When you’re tired and scared, pause for a moment. Sit back a little. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose, belly expanding, and slowly release, breathing out through your lips, belly contracting. Imagine you’re breathing in space; that your outbreath flows into the sky. Besides calming your vagus nerve, this helps you remember who you really are – loving awareness. The dharma of loving awareness values the innate worth and dignity of all, “children of the awakened ones,” and our capacity for creative self-expression, intimacy and freedom.
Let’s celebrate the well-being and pride that has been earned. Let’s celebrate the courage and compassion of the collective, and the appreciation of differences. Let us stand up for one another and live a dharma of mutual respect. Whoever and wherever you are, may you be held in tenderness, may you be safe and protected, may you be well and at ease, may you be happy.