When I chose to fund Heartland Men’s Chorus’ commissioning of composer Mark Hayes to create a piece that would support HMC’s vision statement, I had no idea how perfect his work would be, that with every crescendo it would enlighten, inspire, heal and empower… and then some!
Times have changed, thank goodness, for LGBT men and women and their family and friends, letting their truth be known… it didn’t used to be and still isn’t in some faith communities and certain parts of our country.
I’ve had the privilege of listening to their stories through counseling and in many advocacy trips both near and far. Many others have been thrown out of their homes into the streets to fend for themselves. One extreme case was shared. After coming out to his parents a young man’s pastor-father placed a gun in his son’s room and said “you know what to do with it.” That’s beyond the pale. But there also are millions who say the accept their son or daughter but emphasize that homosexuality is a sin and many take that insult in order to keep a relationship with family.
But there is an alternative. My son’s story is happily different. Twenty five years ago he got up the courage to come out to his father and me. As gay positive as I thought I was, I cried. It’s an automatic reaction. In that moment, a mother may feel as if s the hasn’t known her son or daughter and grieves that he hasn’t felt like telling her before. My son actually nurtured me in that moment, asking me to explain. I did, and the moment passed in brief time. His father also accepted him unconditionally as did his sister and the rest is a happy family history.
Even if the coming out experience is in adulthood it is vital to the quality of life for any LGBT person and loved ones.
HMC strives to support LGBT persons in living an honest and full life. Not only in concerts but in long trips and to local schools they reach out to all ages voicing their encouragement.
Mark Hayes has penned a song that does this beautifully, showing in music that “there’s got to be a better way.”
If you are in the closet, you are living the life of a former prejudiced time, you are missing out on an open and honest life. Your are hiding. If you are a parent or family member or friend the same is true. If quietly supporting them, or worse, not supporting at all… now is the time to get off the bench and openly be there for them. SING OUT!
“Life gets better, the future’s brighter, burdens are lighter when with our voices we sing out.”
Gay or straight, I urge you to find ways to stand up for inclusion in this retro-political era of leaders who strive for exclusion.
Join the chorus or one of the many fine Kansas City organizations advocating for what is right. What is the alternative? Hiding in the closet you have built for yourself or loved ones? I ask you to Sing Out! Bless you in your continued journey.