A reader of LEO online recently suggested that the cover artists of our Pride issue should keep their sexuality to themselves and return to the closet. I wasn’t surprised by the comment, there are a few homophobes who troll LEO’s pages but I wanted to make sure this was crystal clear to this reader and all others who come to LEO’s pages: We fully and unequivocally support our friends in the LGBTQ+ community, and won’t tolerate any suggestion that someone should return to a closet.
The idea that in 2023, we have to say it so explicitly, and that anyone would feel cozy on LEO’s pages to suggest something of the sort, is frustrating. We shouldn’t need to tell people that LEO is queer-friendly. It would seem obvious.
Either way, it needed to be said.
We’re moving through a period in this nation where a lot of the ugly parts of discrimination are raging against the dying of the light and creating dangerous situations for people in the LGBTQ+ community. These people are actively harming their friends, neighbors, and family members under the cloak of Christian conservatism. There is nothing less Christian than seeking to harm people simply because of a lack of understanding or a blatant lack of basic human compassion. Conservatism as a cover for prudishness and fear is equally as ridiculous.
As a human species, we’re all moving dangerously close to ultimate harm by not caring for our planet, but as we care less for each other, we expedite our downfalls.
When I encounter homophobia, in particular, I’m baffled about how this continues to be a thing. I’m equally confused about how racists continue to justify yelling the ‘N-word’ from the window of a car while riding by a group of Black people. Prejudice, in terms of exclusion and most -isms, is baffling because it has no practical use but harm.
I don’t really have anywhere that I’m going with this note other than to clarify that LEO is a space that is open to all. If that openness makes you uncomfortable as a reader of our publication, that’s unfortunate. Each member of our city adds flavor and color to the landscape and while I wish that we could all care for each other and see that protecting everyone is important, I am not naive. I know that, for some, to see those who are different as equal to them or precious as God’s creations (should they claim to be Christian), is just asking too much.
I’m also not going to ask people to be better. What I will say to the people who are being harmed by prejudice whether that is homophobia, racism, sexism, ageism, etc., is that you have value and there is no need to defend your humanity against those who can’t see it. Take up space and be you in all places. Your existence is defense enough. You don’t need to justify yourself to them and LEO will always welcome you with open arms as long as we can. •