The Path of Pro-Activism
Dear Rainbow Letter Writers of the Past and Future,
Today is a day to celebrate how far we’ve come and envision how much farther we can go on the path to a more loving and equitable world.
It is the last day of the #ARainbowLetterADay campaign, which launched The Rainbow Letters Project into the world on June 1, 2017. We have shared 70 letters over the past two months and hopefully the result is a little more love, empathy and connectedness around the topic of LGBTQ family in the hearts of those who’ve been touched by our words.
I want to thank you for taking the time to reflect, write, and share your stories. Facing the deepest, truest parts of yourself, laying them to bare and revealing them to the world - that is a tremendously courageous act. Your humanity is beautiful and your voices are powerful. You should be proud for authentically speaking out about your experiences and, in so doing, paving the way for others to do the same.
By sharing our family stories, we can be the change we wish to see in a world that currently suffers from a rainbow allergy. I like to think of us as “pro-activists.” We are not fighting against hate and bigotry; rather, we are fighting for love and inclusion. By providing new narratives about the different ways families can look, we serve as sources of light to help illuminate a new path towards positive social change, one that is open to millions of people who currently feel excluded from the common construct of what makes a family.
This photo, which was taken on June 16, 2017 at the "Pride Shabbat" dinner I hosted in San Francisco to celebrate the launch of The Rainbow Letters, features (most of the) members of my big, gay, Jewish family and encapsulates the celebratory way I and we feel about alternative families. My greatest hope is that hundreds more queer, quirky families get to connect and express collective joy, as we have, about our alternativeness through this project!
Today, the primary mission of The Rainbow Letters is to help kids of LGBTQ parents tell their own stories. Too often parents and politicians speak on behalf of the kids. But what do they have to say for themselves? Where do these kids, sometimes called “gaybies” or “queerspawn,” fit into the LGBTQ ecosystem? This feels unclear, and has for quite some time. We want to offer a microphone for this community to amplify a sea of voices that already exists but doesn't seem to have a place at the LGBTQ table. As the #ARainbowLetterADay campaign comes to a close, we are exploring various ways to do this so we can move towards a more integrated future. Working with me on this effort are Maya Ulin-O'Keefe and Becca Gorman, who both contributed letters over two years ago and now volunteer their time to help bring The Rainbow Letters to life on social media and in the greater LGBTQ community. We hope to hear from more of our peers!
In the spirit of inclusivity, we will also continue to collect letters from ALL PEOPLE in the LGBTQ community around the topic of family so we can provide a fuller, more nuanced picture for ourselves and society at large than the one that currently exists. We will publish new letters as we receive them, so please submit letters and spread the word so others can, too!
What I’ve learned by reading these gorgeous letters is that family comes in many ways, shapes and forms, and we shouldn’t be afraid to forge new paths - as long as we lead with love and open-mindedness. So let’s have compassion even for the people who don’t understand us; let’s help them understand. And let’s encourage our allies to continue listening to us and fighting with us. In the meantime...
Keep reflecting. Keep writing. Keep sharing the stories of your rainbow families so that, together, we can pave a path for future families of all shapes, sizes and colors to thrive.