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Sunday, at the Parade

Sunday, we took the kids to our neighborhood parade. We walked from our house as we always do. It was a beautiful day for a parade. The sun came out as we were walking and there was music everywhere. And color. So much color. There was dancing in the streets. Women wore feathers in their hair and people waved from cars. Confetti and balloons danced in the wind and everyone was cheering.

Love is love.

We are HERE and we are PROUD.

Love is love.

We all live, we all love ... differently.

My kids have never been to any other parades. Just the one that happens in our neighborhood every year. BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE. BE A RAINBOW. LOVE IS LOVE.

I want them to see what it looks like to be free. And proud. And fearless. This year was different from other years, but it was also the same.

Sunday, we walked in the parade. It was a heartbreaking day for a parade. People were mourning. Hugging. Holding one another's hands. Fifty candles burned in silence. People wore black and carried signs. "ORLANDO" painted on backs and fronts and signs. Hearts in hands.

WE ARE ORLANDO.

WE STAND WITH ORLANDO.

ORLANDO, WE LOVE YOU.

The kids walked on behalf of their school, rode scooters in circles and waved their signs.

On La Cienega, there was a man with a megaphone and a group of more men waving signs. The signs said horrible things. Hateful things. HATE, in big block letters, rose against a slew of signs preaching LOVE.

Everyone kept walking, signs held high. Fable pressed her sign higher. Kids kept dancing, riding.

They understand.

These men want to stop the Parade.

But they can't.

They were not Muslim, these men. They were white. They called themselves Christians, but we knew better than to believe them.

They were Americans.

Just like the Orlando shooter.

They were extremists.

Just like the Orlando shooter.

They were men.

Just like the Orlando shooter.

Their weapons were different, perhaps. But the root was the same. Homophobia. Toxic masculinity. Racism. Hatred born out of shame, fear, self-hatred. Using religion as a crutch, using their god's name in vain.

They were American.

This is America.

Where guns are easily accessed. Where "hate" is a campaign strategy. Where LOVE is something debated in houses of worship. Where people say things like, "Love the sinner, hate the sin."

Where there are CAVEATS to mourning.

To acceptance.

To love.

Keep walking.

Keep dancing.

Keep holding up your signs.

Keep LOVING exactly as you LOVE.

Sunday, we took the kids to the LA pride parade. And next year we will, too. And the year after that. And the year after that. Because LOVE is a parade. SEXUALITY is a parade. OWNING our differences is a parade. FREEDOM is a parade. BODIES, FEELING SAFE AND CONFIDENT, is a parade. I want my children to see that. To feel that. To encourage and support and embrace EXACTLY who they are. And to rejoice as others lovingly, confidently do the same.

I want my children to choose LOVE—in however way they want to define it, with whomever they want to define it.

I want my children to be UNAPOLOGETIC in their WHO THEY TRULY ARE-ness, and to CELEBRATE the same in others.

I want them to show up. Even when people warn them not to, even when the media tries to scare them away. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO PUT YOUR BODY WHERE YOUR HEART IS. DON'T LET THEM SCARE YOU AWAY FROM DOING WHAT IS RIGHT. SOMETIMES IT TAKES GREAT RISK TO BE YOUR TRUE SELF.

USE YOUR PRIVILEGE TO STAND WITH THOSE WHO WERE NOT BORN WHITE. OR STRAIGHT. OR MALE.

Listen.

Learn.

Support.

Elevate.

Love.

Fight.

For the parade.

Love and solidarity to the LGBTQ community in Orlando and all LGBTQ communities worldwide. We are heartbroken for you. We love you. We stand by you. And we will continue to use our privilege to fight for your BASIC HUMAN RIGHT to THRIVE in this country. WITH LOVE AND INCLUSION.

For those looking to DO SOMETHING here is a great place to start. For those wondering how to talk to your children about Orlando's hideous hate crime, "LOOK FOR THE HELPERS" is no longer good enough. WE NEED TO BE THE HELPERS. BY BEING ALLIES. BY PREACHING LOVE. BY RESISTING BIGOTRY AND RACISM IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND CULTURE. We need to involve our children in the conversation, include them in the good fight. THIS IS THE TIME. LOVE IS AN ALL-AGES SHOW.

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