PFLAG: Because Its All About Love

It's All About Love
Sometimes, just showing up is enough

My cousin Henri and his spouse Gary are board members of the Long Beach Chapter for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.) So yesterday I went to their pre-Pride Parade breakfast. There, I made a sign that read “I love my cuz and his hubby!” When I noticed that everyone else’s signs had writing on the back as well, I quickly scribbled the first thing that popped into my head: “It’s All About Love.”

I really was just there for Henri and Gary, to show my support. I didn’t think any deeper than that. I slipped on a PFLAG tee. Sign in hand, off I went with the PFLAG group, to get in line.

The parade started and I walked with a woman I’d just met, named Lori, who wore a matching tee shirt. Within moments, I looked at Lori with surprise and said, “I can’t believe how much love I feel in the air—its palpable!”
She agreed. She’d walked Pride before and said, “They really love PFLAG.”

And then I heard it. I saw it. An outpouring of thunderous applause, shouts of “We love you!” and “Thank you!” as our PFLAG group walked by them.

Again, surprised, I looked at Lori who said, warmly, “I told you. They Love PFLAG. So many people here have been rejected by their own families. Our support means the world to them.”

I almost felt stupid. Of COURSE PFLAG was important. We were straight people saying “I accept you and I love you, and I want to be on the record, in public, saying so, for all of you who have felt unaccepted and unloved.”

I couldn’t believe the affect it had on me. Just by carrying a sign, by walking a few miles, by smiling (uncontrollably beaming, actually) I was feeding damaged, broken hearts. I was helping to make souls feel whole again. I was a bandage, an elixir, a nurturing shoulder, a hug, a friend, a healer. Me. Personally. Just—me. By being there.

Astounded, my heart and eyes welled up for joy. I started making eye contact with each person standing on the sidelines, giving them my own personal wave, and they would whoop and holler, blow a kiss, say thank you, shout God bless you. Who was getting more of a healing, them or me? I suddenly felt so humbled and honored to be in that position. Me, who had just come for Henri and Gary. Suddenly I felt a responsibility, I felt… important. I felt loved, by thousands of people. My eye contact made a group of ten wave their arms frantically at me, and the cheers would turn to a delightful roar from the whole crowd, as if I’d just won a gold medal at the Olympics. Me. But not me, Rose. Me. The Stranger who was saying to the brown eyes, to the pink shirt, to the man with a blond wig, to the shy lady in the corner—“You are a whole person. You are loved. You are, in fact, really awesome, just the way you are. You are brave, you are honest. You are honoring your path.”

I wasn’t me, Rose. I was Acceptance. I was the Mom saying the words of support that their own mother never said. The Dad who hugged instead of hit. The Grandparent who showered love, not shame. I was, in fact, Their Family walking for them in the stead of their biological family who had refused to go.

I know I already used the word “Humbled” but it keeps coming to mind. I was in a position of honor. One I didn’t sign up for, one I didn’t mean to be in, in my naïve happy support for my cousin and his husband. I didn’t know—I had no idea I would be Every Family. It was a great responsibility, and so very… again… humbling.

They treated me like a war hero coming home, or Princess Di in a carriage. They loved me. Because I was, for a moment—for a three-mile stroll with a sign—Their Family. And for a truly lovely moment, they were my family, too. I learned, on a new level, that, really and truly, It’s All About Love.

 

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10 thoughts on “PFLAG: Because Its All About Love

  1. beautiful words….it is all about love and you definitely feel all those things…I love marching just for those reasons…to let others know I support them and love them…thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. You put into words what so many of us experience on the parade route. PFLAG is acceptance not rejection from a family that is felt wherever we may be. It is humbling and honoring as we march giving hugs and blowing kisses. I’m so glad I got to meet you Sunday.

  3. I have often been one of those folks waving wildly to the PFLAG contingent – yelling “We love you!!” – always my favorite part of the parade though in the past I haven’t known personally any of the PFLAG marchers. This year I had the pleasure of meeting PFLAG folks through the good fortune of meeting your cousin & spouse. And my enthusiasm was even bigger. Your post does a beautiful job of articulating what happens. Thank you ❤️💛💚💙💜

    • Thank YOU for being one of the wonderful, loving people who enlightened me! It really was a moving experience. Thank you so much for writing! xoxo

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