Jun 1 • 7M

Let's Help Each Other

It's the only way we move forward.

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Charlotte Clymer is a writer and LGBTQ advocate. You've probably seen her on Twitter (@cmclymer). This is the podcast version of her blog "Charlotte's Web Thoughts", which you can subscribe to here: charlotteclymer.substack.com
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(Getty // Alexander Spatari)

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Good morning, and welcome to Pride Month 2022!

This year’s Pride comes at a precarious moment in the history of the LGBTQ rights movement.

Although there have been notable advances in LGBTQ equality in the past decade—same-sex marriage, non-discrimination employment protections, etc.—there remains a great deal of work left to be done in a country in which the vast majority of LGBTQ people live in parts of the United States that still discriminate in housing, public accommodations, credit, jury service, education, health care, and so many other areas of the public square.

But there’s also this: the resurgence of vile anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the United States that has led to hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills being introduced, this year alone, in state legislatures across the country, many of them being passed.

I’m going to be writing a lot this month about LGBTQ equality, and I apologize in advance for blowing up your inboxes.

As part of that, I want to highlight warm stories about LGBTQ equality, too, because I think it’s important that folks—especially those who are non-LGBTQ—are made aware of when things go right, when understanding is had, when equality is pursued in good faith.

Many years ago, I attended an evangelical church here in Washington, D.C. where I was, I’m fairly certain, one of the very, very few progressives in attendance. That’s a story for another time, but the long and short of it is that I found community with many people around my age who did not share my political views but still wanted to share space with me.

That is… until I came out as transgender.

Now, I do have still have some friends from that time in my life whom I cherish, but sadly, there were many friendships that faded into the distance in much the same way someone might let the clock run out on a renewal notice. They had no interest in keeping a friendship going after I came out as a trans woman.

That hurt, of course, and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me suspicious of the intentions of so many Christians in this country who claim to be filled with Christ’s love but seem spiritually desiccated when it comes to loving trans people.

I’m saying all this because recently, I had an interaction that gave me a lot of hope for the future, something which feels scarce lately.

Someone on Twitter—I’ve anonymized them for privacy—said this to me:

Now, I’ve never met this person, but I feel like I know them. They’re not that much different from any given person my age with whom I spent time as a young adult in Bible study groups and prayer meetings and weekend trips.

I can’t emphasize enough how much guts it takes to be as vulnerable as this person is being. They not only left behind a community in which they enjoyed significant comfort—which can feel quite lonely, I would know—but they’re now making the effort to put some good into the world and demonstrate growth.

I greatly admire them. It’s easy to avoid growth. I’ll be thinking of this person next time I make a mistake of my own and follow their example.

I know there are millions of Americans who support LGBTQ rights but still find themselves uncertain of what to do because they’re afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing.

All I can say to you is that I am also afraid of saying the wrong thing or making a mistake. And then, I do make mistakes because mistakes are inevitable. Mistakes are human. Mistakes are essential for growth.

For example, do you know what I do when someone accidentally misgenders me or uses the wrong pronouns? I gently correct them and we move on. Because that person made a mistake in good faith and life is way too short to be scared and distrustful of each other over good faith mistakes.

Because when I make a mistake and misgender someone—and yes, trans and non-binary people sometimes accidentally misgender each other—I have been extended similar grace in exchange for my good faith.

This Pride Month, here is my request to those who are not LGBTQ: have the courage to make mistakes and learn from them. Let’s help each other learn. Let’s make it possible to move toward a future where people are more afraid of not learning from mistakes than making them.

And I’ll be right there with you, making mistakes of my own and trying my best to grow through them.

Hi, I’m Charlotte Clymer, and this is Charlotte’s Web Thoughts, my Substack. It’s completely free to access and read, but if you feel so moved to support my writing, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription: just $7/month or save money with the $70/annual sub. You can also go way above and beyond by becoming a Founding Member at $210.