Today is Spirit Day and when I first heard it was a response to the pain suffering in queer, trans, nonbinary, two-spirit communities, honestly, I felt cynical. Kind of like, harumph…isn’t this spirit thing just another cheesy way to try to avoid all the hatred we face? And, if so, then, I don’t want to do it.
But that cynicism sets in quickly to protect me. Then I checked out the Spirit Day web site and perusing the statistics, I was immediately reminded of what I know because it is what I live, it is what I do for a living, it is what I understand with every breath I take, bullies are everywhere, from the school hallways, 70% of LGBTQ youth report being harassed at school to the political bully pulpits, 86% of LGBTQ youth say that recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being (GLAAD, Spirit Day).
I see those numbers, I think about my quick draw cynicism, how it protects me, and I realize what an easy slide it is into hating. Shutting down one’s heart, closing off, and not risking vulnerability, that’s easy. I can do that 8 days a week and twice on Sunday. But, keeping one’s heart open, risking the hurt that comes with that is scary and difficult.
Spirit Day calls upon us to recognize the danger that our LGBTQIA+ loved one’s face, day in and day out. It asks us to keep our hearts wide open. It demands our vulnerability, our ability to connect with the parts of us that have been hurt, so even if we do not understand the trans girl I go to school with or my nonbinary cousin or my polyamorous asexual friends or me, Jen, who would tell you that as I learn about Xenogenders I believe that is where my gender identity lies, somewhere in the gender spectrum outside of the boundaries of male and female.
Today, on Spirit Day, take it from this Queer JEDI, let love be the Force that guides you. May the force be with you. Always.
written by Jen Self
This story was originally published on Medium.