Sunday, April 12, 2009

Welcome Home

Today I was thinking about what it is like to come home to a community that you perceive does not welcome you.  I remember the 70's with Vietnam Vets coming home from a very unpopular war.  Most of them had been drafted and would not have chosen to go to war at all - especially not that war.  Many of them tried not to bring attention to their service feeling that the majority of the nation somehow blamed them - shunned them - even denounced them.  No matter how you feel about war, most of us would agree that these men and women did not deserve that.  30 years after the last Vietnam Vets came home, there was a National Welcome home day.
GLBT people who grew up in that era and left small towns in search of careers, etc. can relate to the experience of returning under those conditions - not expecting to be welcomed home.  Blamed as threats to family values.  Shunned by our past church communities.  Even denounced as unworthy of equal rights as citizens.  We see glimmers of hope in Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts and with companies who include GLBT people in anti-discrimination policies.  There are signs of a new day.  
Wouldn't it be amazing if small towns and even churches across the country had "Welcome Home Day" for GLBT people?  A day of celebration where GLBT people who left go back home to join their brothers and sisters who stayed and are received by a new welcoming community.
That would be a powerful message of real change.

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