I admit, my perspective is perhaps a little skewed. I’m resisting the urge to use the word “sheltered”, because I think it implies things that aren’t entirely accurate; maybe “spoiled” is more appropriate, or “oblivious”. Regardless of what word we end up using, though, the bottom line is that sometimes I am a little out-of-touch with the challenges people face.
I have had the great good fortune of spending my college years in a delightfully liberal town (I think of it affectionately as the “Great Hippie Holdout on the Plains”). I lived there for a good 15 years or so, and only left in the last few years to come live with my then-boyfriend-now-husband–and was immediately adopted by his friends and family, most of whom are also delightfully liberal. Yes, I have seen intolerance, distrust, prejudice, and outright hatred firsthand; but honestly, it’s not really part of my average day. I live in a world where I am usually surrounded by fine people who are perfectly happy to embrace anyone who plays nicely and shares the toys, regardless of race, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, gender / gender identity, physical/mental/emotional challenges/handicaps/differences, etc, etc, etc. In my world, we really don’t care who you are, who you love, who you worship, what you do for a living, or whether or not you’re rockin’ the latest fashion; all we care about is whether you’re living honestly (and whether you bring tasty food to the parties). We care about whether you’re fun to be around. We care about whether you’re interesting. We seek to find common ground, and view it as an exciting challenge when the common ground isn’t immediately apparent.
Yes, we are aware that not everybody approaches human interactions in the same way, and whenever possible, we fight against that–both by working to raise awareness and by holding our doors open for folks who are looking for a community that will accept them.
In other words, we like the beautiful freaky people, and we invite them out for coffee.
So that was my starting point…and then a few weeks ago, I posted a link to this video on my Facebook:
I wasn’t surprised to see it kick off some debate–gay marriage is still a controversial topic, and part of the blessing of knowing such a wide variety of people is the truth that sometimes they will disagree, and will talk about their opinions, and as long as everyone does so respectfully, then it’s all good. But I was surprised to receive a message the next day from someone I love, saying that they’d recently had a loved one come out to them and that they were pleasantly surprised to hear that they might have an ally in me.
This tells me two things: 1. My (apparently unusually) tolerant friends group has spoiled me, so that it really doesn’t even occur to me anymore that acknowledging one’s orientation is a big deal (before you freak out, yes, I know full well that it is a big deal in a lot of places, which is the entire point of things like the It Gets Better Project, but that’s always, y’know, over there someplace); and 2. I have not done enough to let people know where I stand in the universe.
So I’m rectifying that now.
For the record: the Buffalo Moon Ranch (in real life) and BuffaloTracts (in the cyberworld) are hereby officially declared to be Safe Spaces. I do not care who you are or how you look. I see your body as *where* you are, not *who* you are. I do not care who you do or do not worship, who you do or do not want to sleep with, who you voted for in the last election, or what you do or do not do for a living. I do not care where your family is from, how much cash you have in the bank (or whether you use banks at all), or what your dietary preferences/restrictions are. As long as you are willing to play nicely and share the toys, you–and your thoughts, your opinions, and your abilities (whatever they may be)–are welcome here.
No, this does not mean that I’m setting up some sort of hostel for the fabulous funky feisty folk (frankly, our little dog tends to go into hysterics whenever someone shows up, and I do not have the strength to listen to him bark for weeks on end while a parade of cars pulls up outside and people set up tents on the lawn). What it means is that as long as you’re meeting me halfway by doing your best to be a decent person who lives with intent and respect, then you’re damned right I’m your ally.
So how does this tie into the Weekend World-Changer Homework? Here’s how: if you also see your home (physical or online) as a safe space and have not declared that to the world recently, please take a moment to do so now. People may have entered your universe who have not yet been made aware that they’re welcome regardless of–well, you already saw the long list earlier–and since it broke my heart to realize that someone I loved was not 100% sure I’d love them back after their Big Revelation, I’d like to spare you from experiencing that same sense of having failed your fellow man. You can make your declaration here (feel free to link to your own blog/etc in the comments if you’ve got one), via whatever social media you use, by posting a sign in your front yard … whatever moves you, really, is fair game.
I’ll kick things off (y’know, in case you just scrolled down here to see what today’s picture was, without reading any of the intervening material):
In the physical world, the Buffalo Moon Ranch is a Safe Space. Online, BuffaloTracts is a Safe Space. Everyone is welcome, as long as you are willing to play nicely and share the toys. Whenever possible, please bring treats to share–and please be aware that the privilege of knowing you also counts as a “treat”. 🙂
Now go! Make declarations, and make friends! Spread the love! It’s good for your soul.