By Jeff Brown
I apologize for the suppression and rejection that you have endured since time immemorial.
I am mortified by the myriad ways that you have been bullied and violated. I apologize for the savage and brutal acts of violence you have suffered. These malevolent acts are unforgiveable. There is no excuse, no justification, no point of redemption. At the same time, I am confident that they represent the archaic place that we have been, and not the authentic place we are going.
In poet Susan Frybort’s words: “HATE is the abomination, not sexual orientation.”
In the awakening world that we are co-creating, we are slowly coming to know the difference. I stand firmly beside you as you continue to fight for your right to the light in a still hateful collective. And I invite all other awakening humans to stand beside you, too. Please accept this apology from all of us. Please let my voice speak for the many of us who haven’t found our voice yet.
I apologize for the countless ways that you have been denied equal rights throughout these dark ages.
I am sorry that your rights have been buried beneath a bushel of blame and shame. We had no right to deny you access to jobs you were qualified for, to the adoption of children, to marriage with your beloved, to innate human rights and freedoms. We had no right to censor, stifle and suppress your voice. Your right to equality is inherent in your very existence. Providence already granted you that when you were born.
I apologize for those who have assaulted you in the name of God.
The moment someone attacks in God’s name, their actions are no longer sourced in divinity. They are motivated by hate, and they will not be shielded or excused by Providence. If only within their own hearts, they have sentenced themselves to a lifetime of perpetual damnation. Any religion that condones such acts is not a religion—it is hateism, and inherently Godless. There can be no peace for those who believe otherwise. None at all. They have forgotten the most fundamental requirement for a Godly life—compassion for their fellow humans. By exchanging compassion for hatred, they have given up their bridge to God. That bridge is one built from the girders of human connectedness. If there is anything to pray TO, it is everyone’s right to love who they love.
I apologize for my personal contribution to your suffering.
As a teenager, I mocked and assaulted boys who were not traditionally masculine. I stood outside the St. Charles tavern in Toronto, and cheered on those who gathered for the annual Halloween egg-throwing at gay men. I used the word ‘faggot’ with scathing abandon, and often wrote it on the lockers of students who I had labeled as gay. Rooted in my own confusion about my father’s sexuality, my macho conditioning, and the misplaced aggression from a bullying family, it didn’t occur to me that I was persecuting you just as I had been persecuted in my own childhood home. I felt like I was confirming my own ‘normality,’ my own ‘not differentness,’ my own worthiness, after years spent on the periphery of society. I claimed my stake to something blindly called ‘normal,’ at your expense. I am sorry for channeling my self-hatred towards you—it wasn’t yours to carry. I had no right to dim your natural-born light.
I apologize for the ways in which you have been made a scapegoat throughout time.
Like so many trailblazers who have brought evolution to our doorstep, you have been wrongfully targeted and vilified for things you are not responsible for. When some people cannot face their own self-hatred, they pass it onto others. When they cannot own their desires, they mask them with violence. Let’s make no mistake—many of these scapegoaters are not ‘homophobic.’ They are not afraid of the LGBTQ community any more than they are afraid of any other paradigm-shifting community. They are heartphobic—cowards afraid of living from an open heart. They have shackled their own hearts, sentencing them to a life behind bars. Their fear is manifest as hatred; hate that is both rooted in what they have been taught by like-minded others, and in their fundamental fear of opening their hearts to love. It’s too vulnerable for them, too courageous, too genuine. It’s easier to hide behind the armor of their conditioned hatred than courageously peel the layers and embrace humanity. Little do they realize that those they enslave, actually hold the keys to their liberation. By not embracing them, they have locked themselves inside of their own fragmentation.
I apologize for not being more invested in your struggle for liberation.
I know something about being shamed and alienated—in my home, at school, as a Jew in the culture at large and yet I saw your struggle as somehow distinct from my own. But how could it be? Not a single being among us has not had an experience of feeling alienated in one way or another. Not a single being among us has not been shamed at some point in this lifetime. Yet we turn away from those who struggle for their own emancipation, as though their experience is different from ours. This just perpetuates everyone’s isolation— one back turned, leads to another back turned, leads to a disconnected, fractured collective. It’s time to recognize that all forms of rightful liberation are a shared human experience. When we liberate one group of us, we further liberate ourselves. Until each and every one of us rises into fullness, the collective cannot actualize its wholeness. I am sorry that I turned my back on your struggle. It was my struggle, too.
I am deeply sorry about those members of your community who left us by their own hand, because it was too difficult to remain here, under inhumane conditions. I am particularly saddened by those who left us before revealing and fully exploring their innate sexual orientation. Condemnation and absence of societal support forced many to bury and hide their desires, leaving them alone to live tormented and isolated lives. I especially apologize for the loss of the many young teens who felt they had to repress and deny their sexual impulses during the very vulnerable stage of adolescence. So many vital young lives lost, for no good reason. I have heard some of them referenced as cowards, ironically, by those cowards who made their lives so painful. It is the height of arrogance and insensitivity to imagine ourselves judges over a person’s decision to stay or to go. Only the individual knows what trauma they are carrying, what darkness blankets their inner world, what courage it has taken to stay even this long. Only the individual soul knows what path they have had to walk, and when their time has come.
I am grateful that you had the courage to own and display your truth, despite the overwhelming challenges that you faced. Your brave insistence on standing in your authenticity has changed this world, a world in dire need of transformation. Not only have you trailblazed a more inclusive perspective, you have set the stage for the next steps in human development. Without your contribution, we were affixed to the lifeless shackles of convention. Locked into archaic gender and sexual identifications, we could not even begin to glimpse the breadth of human possibility. You have offered us the ways to explore, embody and expand ourselves that we have been unknowingly desperate for. Thank you for championing a more expanded vision of possibility for all of us. If anything, society should bow down before you and thank you for supporting our emancipation.
The real question is, how can we prove ourselves worthy of you, after dishonoring you for centuries… How can we regain your respect?
Gratitude for the ways that you have proudly liberated human sexuality from its closeted confines. It was much too tight in there for all of us. Thank you for expanding the field of expressive possibility so wide that it can accommodate everyone’s sexuality. You have not only blessed your own community— you have also planted seeds of awakening for evolving heterosexuals, who can now feel more comfortable exploring their outer edges without shame or self-hatred. By shattering traditional sexual mores, you have also invited us to explore intimacy with greater imagination. So many creative and spiritual doorways open when the body is free to explore and express itself sexually. Without true and complete sexual freedom, our entire species is held back from the next stages of becoming. And by celebrating everyone’s right to love who they love, you have created an opening for each human heart to find its rightful home.
I applaud your courage to walk hand-in-hand, man-to-man, woman-to-woman. I applaud your courage to share a kiss or a hug with your beloved in a public park, just as man and woman do freely. When society closed its doors on you, I applaud your efforts to open up new doors to your community—creating safe spaces to dance, connect, imbibe, celebrate, and enjoy one another’s uniqueness. I recognize that the battle is not over, but you have given us a basis for hope as we co-create a world that lovingly accommodates everyone’s individual truth.
Thank you for the courageous, pioneering work you have done to challenge traditional gender identifications. You have given us permission to break the fetters of our conditioning and imagine ourselves whole. I saw you beaten on the streets of Malaga. I saw you chased down the alleys of New York. And yet you returned the next day, to show your beautiful face. By doing so, you have carved a trail for those who wish to shed their conditioned disguises, and embody their true gender. You have set the stage for those who long to transcend gender altogether. And you have created room to roam for those who feel congruent with their gender identity, but wish to explore an alternative way of being. I admire you for boldly and courageously displaying your innermost gender on the outside, even if it is different from your biological form. By making our experience of gender more fluid, you have made us more emotionally, energetically and creatively fluid. The more fluid we are, the greater our opportunities for awakening and moving together towards wholeness.
I am grateful for your bravery. Bravery is a curious thing. There are two forms of courage in this world. One demands that we jump into life with our armor on. The other demands that we bare ourselves before the world. You have modeled both to us—fighting for your right to the light, and baring your vulnerable tender hearts for all to see. This is the mark of a true champion. Champions are not just sport stars and athletes. They are the ones who stand in the fires of their authenticity and remind us that we are all worth fighting for.
Tremendous gratitude for the ways that you have helped expose the cracks in the relational capacity of those who oppose you. In many ways, their greatest failing is a spiritual one, for they fail to understand that true love is sourced in divinity and entirely unconcerned with sexual orientation and gender. When you have had the highest form of intimate encounter—one that is soul-sourced and soul-driven—you immediately recognize that gender is entirely irrelevant. The soul doesn’t care about body parts. It has no interest in the form our earthsuit takes. It simply loves what it loves. The ultimate form is polyphrenic, an inclusive embracing of all archetypes and energies. The perfectly blended juice of divinity. Drink from love and see as God sees. And God comes in every possible shape and form.
Until we truly respect and honor everyone’s right to be who they are, there is no hope for this world. We will never actualize the divine magnificence that lives at the heart of each and every birth if we cannot explore all of our many facets. This begins with a deep regard for the uniqueness of each soul’s journey, for the individuated path that each needs to walk. You have modeled this with your support for each other, and in the ways that you have fought determinedly to express and embody your truths. I know it has been a tremendously challenging journey, but your courageous insistence on standing in your truth represents one of the most significant and luminous points of transformation since the beginning of time. It is my greatest hope that we follow your lead, as we move to the next stages of our human evolution.
I have a deep faith in humanity, despite all the reasons not to. It’s all too easy to give up, to stop believing, to turn away from the light. There is evidence everywhere that the darkness will prevail. But I am not persuaded. Even though we are so bloody mixed up, so blind to our wondrous nature, so afraid of the love that sources our existence, I can’t stop believing in us. We may only see glimpses of our divinity at this stage of development, but they are a harbinger of things to come. The way we overcome, the way we find our voice, the way we craft light in the darkest of tunnels, is a reflection of our true nature. This human spirit is unstoppable. Such a majestic species.
I look forward to the day when we can all meet one another in our true nakedness, stripped free of misplaced aggression, unresolved emotions, pain-induced projections, and the distortions of duality. For too long we have been on opposite sides of the river, the bridge between our hearts washed away by a flood of pain. But the time has come to construct a new bridge, one that comes into being with each step we take, one that is fortified with benevolent intentions and genuine self-revealing. As we walk toward one another, our emotional armor falls to the ground, transforming into the light at its source. And when we are ready, we walk right into the Godself at the center of the bridge, puzzled that we ever imagined ourselves separate. We are not just here together to keep each other company. We are here together to show each other God. And we show each other God by opening our hearts. The portal is each other.
To fully arrive, there is much work to be done. The transition from survivalism to authenticity as a way of being is fraught with perils and vested interests that seek to hold humanity back. We must be tenacious in our efforts. We must be perpetually vigilant. We must stand our ground and assert our rights with vigor. And we must fight—time and again—to re-define ‘normality’, as you have so bravely demonstrated. Normal is a relative concept. What is normal to a fear-ruled survivalist is a too tiny cage to someone moving from truth. As we move towards the outer edges of human possibility, our ideas of normal exponentially transform to accommodate our next stage of expansion. This is the nature of an awakening world—to continually stretch the canvas of normal until it artfully encompasses all the shades and colors of the human rainbow.
In support of this intention, I call on everyone who is seeking to usher in new, more expansive ways of being. Those who are endeavoring to test the edges of convention and break through the shackles of misidentification. I call on all of you to actively support one another in our collective efforts. It doesn’t matter if you can relate to another’s unique quest or form of expression—what matters is that we walk beside each other on the trailways of transformation in service of a more authentic world. Our unified efforts are the key to sustainable change.
I call on everyone to support YOU, our brave pioneers, our burning trailblazers, our Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender Queer, Questioning, & Curious community. Through your valiant efforts we have witnessed tremendous progress and profound triumphs. Yet there are still those endarkened corners of our collective consciousness that are waiting for the light. Do not give up your commitment to boldly embody who you are. One by one, these dark corners will continue to unfurl to the light. As awakening humans, regardless of our sexual orientation, let us stand in front, beside, and amongst you—honoring who you are in its authentic expression.
As awakening humans, let us honor your right to fully shine as who you are, in all its glory, and let us celebrate that you are symbols of the freedom we all seek from limiting identifications. We march beside you, uniting our steps towards a more connective and enheartened vision of human possibility. Deep bows to your courage.