Happy Pride: If you’re using that Facebook LGBT flag emoticon, a small request.

LGBT Pride flag photo credit: Ted Eytan cc
Happy Pride! I’ve got a few words for everyone who is excited about Facebook putting out a new rainbow flag icon during LGBT Pride month this June. Facebook sponsored the RNC after many many anti-queer stances by the GOP. A major Facebook shareholder has been a core part of Il Dupe’s campaign. Facebook sent its COO to help give Il Dupe a photo of business support when his new election was in doubt. Facebook also took a long time to address the real names policy which posed a true threat to many queer folks. Thanks to Roma Roma and more who advocated on this issue. Enjoy Pride but know that real LGBTIQQ2S leadership comes from lives lived, real risk and real backbone. Here’s to the drag queens and the civil rights activists and to every queer who came before me. Thank you. Here’s to every kid and every grown up coming out to themselves. Welcome! I care. Here’s to every small town queer, every swishy boy in the south, every person getting policed by someone else’s discomfort around gender.
 
If you’re not queer and you really want to be supportive, rather than focusing your energy on displaying something about you…ask queer folks you know about their lives, about the parts you don’t get to see, that people don’t always post about. Be an interested person and a willing listener to folks who have often been through a great deal. Among many other stories, there are people who have been through a plague and were never really heard by the straight part of the country. Signal boost their feeds this month. Realize that queer people you know are always reading your posts, all year long. Take some time and learn about the gay pogroms happening in Chechnya and the serious obstacles still here in the US for many queer folks legal and otherwise.
 
Queer folks often have to deal with their biggest challenges in the families they grow up in. This can mean anything from difficulty to outright abuse and losing a home and these things can begin as early as 3.
 
Now that Pride is a more popular and commercially acceptable thing to decorate for, I ask you to consider using Facebook for something that truly can matter and make a difference. And that will come from you, your witnessing, your time attention and caring, not from any symbol. Showing one queer person you care and are interested in really hearing what something was like to live through and deal with can make a meaningful difference. Queer lives are often code switched.
 
So this is my Pride wish: that every person on Facebook who isn’t queer and wants to use that flag emoticon thing also is willing to spend the time online to ask, listen to and acknowledge one queer person once this month.
 
Thanks for your time.

Also published on Medium.