Sunday, June 28, 2015

Stand Tall, Be Proud......

I'm having one of those days when a song keeps popping into my head and it's all thanks to Facebook. It's a song by Al Johnson from 1928. And just in case anyone wonders, no, I wasn't around back then, but I can remember my Papa singing it all the time when I was a wee girl.

I can only remember one verse, so this one verse has had the automatic replay button in my brain switched on all day.

There's a rainbow 'round my shoulder
And a sky of blue above
Oh the sun shines bright, the world's all right
'Cause I'm in love

As with almost every song ever sung, it can be found on You Tube. There are several versions of it. I chose the original Al Jolson's version to share here, but how I wish I could hear my Papa sing it again.

I said at the start that I remembered this song thanks to Facebook. For anyone who doesn't use Facebook, I will explain....

Facebook has put a tool on their site so that people can have a transparent rainbow on top of their profile pictures to celebrate LGBT Pride. I have added it to my profile picture, as have many of my friends. So Facebook today is awash with rainbows.

I am sure the Pride celebrations have been celebrated even more than normal this year after USA's Supreme Court made the ruling to legalise gay marriage. Hopefully more countries will do the same because I truly believe that all people in this world should be treated equally. We all came into the world the same way, so why should certain groups of people be treated differently because of they are attracted to? Why shouldn't they be allowed to marry and have the same legal rights as a heterosexual couple?
Nobody would have had any right to tell my husband and I that we shouldn't love each other or that we shouldn't get married. Nor should anyone have any right to tell a gay person that they shouldn't love or marry their partner. Surely love is something special which should be celebrated. It should be their choice, and there should be no laws telling them otherwise.

For too long, that has been happening and for too long people have felt the need to shut themselves away because they believe they won't be accepted for who they really are.

Sadly, as well as the rainbows on Facebook, I have seen some other posts about the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage. Some very shameful and hateful posts. Thankfully, the rainbows outnumber the hateful posts, so hopefully, it is a sign that people are changing.  Hate and love are two very strong emotions. I'd rather see a world full of love than hate.

It is time for change. Time to accept people for who they are, no matter who they love, no matter what colour of skin they have, no matter if they believe there are fairies living at the bottom of their gardens. We are all equal and deserve to be treated equally. Everyone should be able to stand tall and be proud of who they are.

When I was fifteen years old, my oldest sister got married. I, along with my other sister, was her bridesmaid. When the wedding photographer saw us outside the church, he came over to me and whispered, "When I am about to take a photo, I'll give you a signal. Bend your knees a bit, so you don't look as tall." I was six feet tall and pretty self conscious about my height, but there was no way I was going to bend my knees to make myself look a 'normal' height as he had put it. That was who I was, so why pretend not to be me? Incidentally, he didn't ask my sister to stand on her tiptoes to appear taller.

I was brought up being told, "Stand tall and be proud". I was a bit self-conscious about my height, but I did learn to stand tall, and be proud. That photographer's comment was just insensitive rather than cruel, although over thirty years later, I can still hear his words in my head.

I am not trying to compare that photographer's comment with the bigoted, homophobic or racist slurs and prejudices which some people are subjected to. But just as I refused to bend my knees to appear normal, nobody should have to pretend to be someone else, just so that they are accepted in society. Everyone should be allowed to be themselves.

Everyone should be encouraged to stand tall and be proud.