Be a Charlotte…

One of the morning shows I watch had a guest on talking about good summer reads. It peaked my interest because I love to read and am always looking for a good book. I grabbed my phone and jotted down some titles that sounded interesting. When the guest got to the recommendations for younger readers, she mentioned Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Oh my goodness I loved that book. I can still remember how I was simultaneously heartbroken and happy at the end of the story.

What an unlikely pair. Charlotte who was seen as a bloodthirsty spider and Wilbur the pig whose life was reduced to some ham and bacon. Their paths crossed in the barn where they both lived. They got to know each other and became fast friends. Although they were different, they took the time to get to know one another. When Charlotte realized that Wilbur’s fate was not looking good, she decided to take things into her own hands…or web. Through her talents of web design, she meticulously crafted her web to say “Some Pig.” As you can imagine, it created quite a stir in the barn. When she knew her friend was facing a terrible fate, she couldn’t be silent about it. She went on to write other words of admiration for Wilbur and ultimately saved his life.

June is over now and Pride month has come to an end. It wasn’t as busy for me since I stepped down as the state leader for Free Mom Hugs Maryland. In 2019, I traveled all over attending the different Pride events from one end of my state to the other. Now I am the regional leader where I live and our Pride festival isn’t until October. I have a few events coming up before then one of which is something called First Fridays in a town north of me. The first Friday of every month during the summer and early fall they have some food trucks, local bands, and different businesses and non-profits that set up tables to sell things or offer information. I participated in my first one for Free Mom Hugs on July 1st right after Pride month.

It’s always interesting when I am at an event that isn’t just LGBTQ+ related. Let’s just say not everyone is happy to see me. Luckily that is balanced with the people who are happy to see me (smile). I don’t give as many hugs at these events since it’s not based just on the LGBTQ+ community. I can tell you on that particular evening I gave out a lot of hugs to scared kids. You see when Roe v Wade was overturned there were some statements made…first from Justice Thomas and later from some politicians. These folks are calling on the Supreme Court to revisit other past decisions. One being Lawrence v Texas (if overturned homosexual relationships are made illegal again) and Obergefell v Hodges (taking away the right for LGBTQ+ people to marry).

What can I say to these kids? I wish I could tell them there was nothing to worry about…it will never happen. It takes me back to the advice my dad would give me when I was a kid. “Don’t borrow trouble,” he would say if I was fretting over something. Don’t worry about something that may not happen. I have to say that this advice has carried me through innumerable situations over my lifetime. But hard as I try, I just can’t seem to apply it to this. I see so much rhetoric against this community.

Back in 2019, I drove down to DC to the National LGBTQ Task Force. Free Mom Hugs Maryland was invited to offer support to their interns. They are all part of the LGBTQ community and their task is to deal with the different bills being voted on to take away their rights in different ways (jobs, health care, housing, etc). There was a lunch for them along with some suggestions on doing some self-care (which is why we were invited). We took them cards and notes of support, some goodies, dessert, and of course hugs. These young adults were impressive. It was an honor to be with these budding lawyers. Imagine needing a task force to fight for YOU. Imagine needing that for simple things like loving who you want to, marrying who you want to, being able to have a job, health care, housing…the list goes on. Many people aren’t aware of all the laws that are presented against this community.

“I wondered what it felt like to see yourself reflected in every movie, to have friends and family constantly dropping fun little hints about your love life, to have the world open up to you in all its magnificence. What did it feel like to not have to think about your every move, to not be scrutinized for everything you did, to not have to lie every day?” – Boy Erased by Garrard Conley. This quote by Garrard is about being in the closet. I would hate for this to be the reality of my son if we go back in time and it becomes illegal to be gay.

Picture I took in my crepe myrtle

So what DO I say to these kids as I hug them. I let them know that they aren’t alone. I listen to their story. I tell them that I will fight for them with my vote and with my voice. I will let the world know that they are “terrific” and “radiant” like our friend Charlotte the spider did for Wilbur. I hope you will get to know this community. It’s really hard to be against them once you do. Then maybe you too will let the world know that they are precious.

Love matters…be a Charlotte.

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