Back in January of this year, when I first wrote about how critical self-esteem is to the gay and lesbian community, I referred to a movement, a revolution. Here, in part, is what I said:
2011 is our year.
I'm calling for a movement, a revolution. We've hated ourselves long enough. It hasn't worked for us. We've gained nothing from it. The time has come to love ourselves. The time is now.
No more living unconsciously. No more falling into the same old patterns of self-abuse, self-medicating with substances. No more whoring around and having risky sex.
Give loving yourself a try.
There's nothing we can't do when we no longer accept that we're bad or worthless just because we're gay. We have so much potential, from building solid relationships to whatever we most want.
But the movement, or revolution, I call for is not out in the streets of our cities and towns, demonstrating and rioting and calling attention to ourselves. It's a quiet revolution, a revolution from within, as Gloria Steinem puts it, within each one of us. All change starts there. We must respect, love, and believe in ourselves to make the change happen.
This is the only way we can take being gay to the next level, we can lift the experience of being gay. Until we love ourselves, it ain't going to happen, folks. It'll be more of the same damn thing.
But when we love ourselves, we're unstoppable. Nothing is impossible. I promise that.
Then I read this today, which reminded me of what I wrote eight months ago, and which I was compelled to share with you:
Although queer [not my favorite word] people have made tremendous political gains in recent years, I believe our next frontier is within ourselves. We can finally organize, demonstrate, and flex our political muscle; the next step, however, is to move beyond self-hating ("I am disgusting"), beyond the community identification only ("I am a lesbian"), to a place of true self-respect, self-nurturing, and internal peace ("I am worthwhile").
(From Loving Ourselves: The Gay and Lesbian Guide to Self-Esteem, by Kimeron N. Hardin, Ph.D., pages 7 & 8.)
My intention is only to plant the seed that the course we're on now isn't necessarily the right one, and that so much more of what we really want, and are entitled to as human beings, awaits us when we no longer accept there's anything wrong with being gay, when we see our self-worth for what it really is.