Well...Pride month is over and now every company is back to their bland marketing. BOO. With everything going on the last week since the SCOTUS ruling on Row v. Wade it seems fitting to go back to corporate beige, anyways.
Before I bring down the party I want to wish everyone that celebrated (whether openly or in the comfort of your own space) a happy belated PRIDE! I've loved seeing my friends posts celebrating the last month. I was asked a lot in college if I was a lesbian and I always felt I was letting the person down by saying no! It's unfortunate, really, that I was born a straight cis gendered white woman. I do, however, love LOVE! I don't care how anyone gets there, but every single person deserves to be loved and accepted as their true selves. I haven't been to many Pride events, but the couple I have been to were an absolute blast. I know it's not always safe, or easy, to truly express yourself being in the LGBTQIA+ crowd, and I want to applaud everyone who's been brave enough to do so. Being from the rural Midwest (Iowa) I know how hateful people can be, especially if they think the effected party isn't listening. Even if you've been out and proud for years or you're still working up to that please give yourself a round of applause! I'm so proud of you!
For a long time I held my tongue on a lot of things I believed in as to not create tension with people I once respected, but in the last few years I've become more outspoken. My silence is not worth making people comfortable in their hatred. In college, while my friends were celebrating the true victory of their future marriages to be fully legal in the state of Minnesota before the rest of the country followed I had people from back home on Facebook posting horrific memes/comics of then President Obama hanging from a noose and derogatory things about the LGBTQIA+ group. Those are not jokes and they are certainly not funny. At that point I was taking the approach of just bringing up my friends in conversations with those people. I'd tell a relevant story and let them sit in their discomfort that they refused to verbalize. Other than that I wasn't confronting people directly. Partially because when I did, nothing was accomplished other than being told I was in the wrong somehow.
What I'm getting at is that everything has felt like a battle even on my end for 10 years now. The SCOTUS ruling last week has felt like a pit of fire in the bottom of my stomach. I can't believe all the progress that was made while I was in college is on the verge of being ripped out from under us on top of my rights as someone with a uterus being ripped away that have been there since 1973. I am not an able-bodied person. The horrors that pregnancy brings a total healthy woman, in general, should be enough for full access to healthcare. None of us should have to flee to a blue state in order to save our own lives. I honestly don't care where every individual person sits on the topic because bodily autonomy is all anyone should care about. Nobody's religious, political, or whatever views should hold power over another person's body. It just shouldn't. That's it. I can guarantee that most abortions are not an easy decision for anyone. Why are we continually rubbing salt in the wound? I have no words and all the words on this topic. It makes me angry and so so sad for everyone effected by the decision.
For a long time I've been advised to keep quiet so I don't hurt my chances of future customers or whatever. It boils down to this: I'm here to make my clients comfortable, especially the ones I photograph. If you're homophobic, racist, or just plain rude we're not going to vibe well anyways. I strive to make my business equally as accepting as I am in my personal life. All I ever want is for people to be their authentic selves...unless their authentic self hates on everyone else in the room and is just an asshole. I wish I could say we should all just be nice to each other, but I know fundamentally that if you wish any ill to myself, or people I care about, or want to strip them of their bodily autonomy, that is no longer possible. This isn't a Kindergarten dispute at recess and I will no longer treat it as such.
I feel like I don't speak out enough in a business setting, so there it is. I have a lot of specific beliefs and I know no one will ever agree with me on 100% of those things, but I have a line where it doesn't matter if you agree or not. Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA+ lives matter, Indigenous lives matter, people of color lives matter, people with uteruses lives matter, and children's, especially in schools, lives matter. There are no exceptions.
Sometimes I can't follow the news anymore for my own mental health, but I can no longer avoid speaking my mind. I don't want any client/customer thinking they aren't welcome here because of their size, their skin color, their pronouns, their gender, who they love, or what they worship. The only people not welcome here are ones who can't keep their hatred to themselves.
For the sake of humanity I hope we can reverse all of this and move forward. Currently, I'm blinded by my feelings and am having a hard time imagining things getting better. It feels like we are rapidly back sliding and it's hard to keep the hope alive. If anyone else is feeling like that you are not alone. I hope I'm not alone. I'm not sure how it's going to get better from here. It has to though, right?