The Cult of Compassion and.. My Gay Pride!

Disclaimer: It has been a day of hurt, and so, I am going to be a bully, a rebel and a bad girl.. But, just for today.. Because, one day and one story will change your mind and your attitude, and I hope to achieve it by bullying you, if I have to.

* * *

That night was not normal and I had to pee badly, my body was shaking, and it was almost time to go to bed.. But, there I was racing towards downtown in that cold October evening in nothing but my night-clothes.. The caller hadn’t finished telling my husband what had happened to my son and why he ended up in the Emergency room at such a later hour that night, and I made a mad dash for the car keys even before hearing what anyone had to say any further.. Our confused daughter at home was quickly shoved off in through a reluctant neighbor’s door.. And here in the car, my husband was begging me to give him the wheel, but my ears and eyes were choked, while I struggled to stay focused to get there and figure out everything for myself..

And there I finally gave him a chance to drive, at that moment when I exited the car, while it was probably still in gear, racing towards the emergency door of Alleghany Regional Medical Hospital, leaving it for him to park the car and follow me inside, wherever I was..

“The stale mate cannot last, and the battle continues..

The Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen has giant robots that transform into trucks and fighter planes and helicopters, that have plane throwers and can crush things that make them explode. I promise, it is a lot of fun, complete mayhem, it will be!”

Just 3 years ago, one evening after a game on the XBox 360, of some explosions and other cacophonous experiences, Kyle had declared that it was time for his sleep over.. I poked him playfully with my elbow and asked him if he was going to a girlfriend’s house for a movie night.. “Maa, cut it out!” he had said, pretending to be annoyed.. By 15, he had taught me the art of video gaming, first at a computer with a gaming console, then a Nintendo DS, then more at a Wii Pokemon game.. We had together improvised the art of sharing and rotating our individual consoles with our friends and families and always took pride in finding out deals for used gaming cartridges.. And giggled that the bad economy made us cheap gamesters.. ! That was my boy, my lefty, my joy and ALWAYS considerate to others faults – Kyle.. And tonight he was in a hospital bed with a badly hurt and injured body after being hit by a car, off campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

Bryce was next to Kyle holding his hands for comfort, while Anusha, Angela and Josef looked on.. They were a team of college freshmen, also childhood friends through Westmont High, so, the sight was very comforting.. of course, along with my boy’s attentive stare at us which indicated to me that he had the consciousness of who his parents were.. “Hi Ms. Gopichund, how are you?! Well, we were all walking and discussing our lab results about our research on cockroaches with rectal tumors.. And then this car came out of nowhere and scraped him off the street.. Look at him, he is not so badly out of shape though!” I strained a smile on my face, dismissing Josef who wore a “I am sucker for chick flicks” T-shirt, knowing he was always the one to ease any awkward or unhappy situation with a gross humorist view of his small world.. He was a good boy, and his mother should be proud!

Mom and Dad, I am fine, don’t worry, and if someone has to stay with me for tonight at the hospital, Bryce wants to stay back.. !” Kyle was speaking in a soft voice, “You might want to get home for the night for Abi, she has school tomorrow, doesn’t she?!”..

My eyes had lost track of how the bed-ridden boy was, and were only fixated on one thing, Bryce’s hand clutching his hand..

Mom?!”..

“No, sweetie, Bryce should go back to the dorm, and let daddy or me take care of you tonight!”..

But, mom ..”..

I did not let him finish.. And to the surprise of everyone in the room, including myself, I declared,

“Kyle, do you know what they call my friend, Matt?? A faggot! He has never bothered to mention it to anyone, but people know.. because he is a flight attendant.. ! But most importantly, do you realize that we have been living here in the city since 1994 and we know about 170 Indian and American families, what would we tell them???! That, our boy likes a boy and that he hopes to marry him some day!”

“Oh, your father and I should have been able to figure it out, right?! — You are an artist, were never really interested in girls but studies, your gait, your emotions, the way you are more of a daughter to me than your sister..” I felt much older than my years as I heard those words coming out of my mouth..

“I can’t even believe that I sat and played hundreds of video games with you, just so you would be interested in some manly games.. and not drown yourself in your paintings.. This is so disappointing Kyle!”

He stared at me with amazement, and was talking back meekly now, “Mom, I did not know that you were so prejudiced and had such feelings and questions about me, I would have been happy to think of you as a cheap person, but you are not, you want to take away all my happiness.. Don’t you?!”, Suddenly, I felt that a little portion of the literary sense and quirkiness, which was part of my genealogy had rubbed onto him, but his words forced me to stay on the point.. “Bryce is just a friend mom, and I am NOT romantically involved with him.. It is ironic for me, because you are the Chief Coordinator for the Metro Pittsburgh Food Bank, and promote compassion and love for strangers as part of your motto.. And, you LOVE the Arts, just like I do.. What does that make you momma.. ?? I don’t have anything else to say to you, please leave now..”.. He then turned his gaze reluctantly to Josef..

I took two steps backwards and stuck myself to the wall, and as I was absorbing his accusatory tone, I could see Kyle’s dad, Angela, Anusha and Bryce leave the room.. They had turned their back on me and left the room, but not Josef.. “Ms. Gopichund, that’s cool, no worries, I get that all the time..! See, they even got me a T-shirt for my birthday, Ha Ha!” And he hopped out of the room asking to be excused..

There, at that moment, I evaporated with shame and as I became the subject of my own derision, a sense of guilt overcame me for betraying my own life, my values, my irresponsible rush to judgement and ultimately my very own child’s trust.. Has anyone found a way to take back a hurtful word, let alone the brutal acts of violence and slaughter??!

*

Compassion starts at home, and like my grandmother said, if you don’t have a kind word to say, say NOTHING!

By definition, the Gay Pride is “The movement that has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual preference and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered.”

My version: And today, I proudly want to say, I have Gay Pride! Would you not be proud of who you are, and let your fellow passengers in this short journey of life, be what they want to be, and how they have chosen to live their lives.. ?? Just like how you execute the terms of freedom in your life, don’t you think every human being has also earned the right to do so.. ??!

The school bully version (as promised, it is gonna sting) : First, what is your problem, what is the point of these hate crimes???! If you think Gays and Lesbians will drive the world to extinction, think again! Because, if you still believe in that theory, either you are a dinosaur or have never heard of the Octomom!
Choose, which one are you, and choose right now!
Secondly, about AIDS?! A few of them might not have heard of the word ‘protection’, but I know one thing for sure, you haven’t heard of the word, E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N!!

*

Please visit:

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/,

introduced to me by a fellow blogger and now a good friend, Wendy at:

http://anonymouspunchingbag.com/2010/10/12/the-trevor-project-is-great-but/

Dedication: To all the homosexual people in my life, who have been part of my life in some capacity, big and small, and have enriched it through our interactions, love. 

* * *

55 Comments

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  1. What a moving post. I show my gay pride b/c I have many wonderful friends who are gay and I can’t stand it when people act like they are sub-human. I don’t understand the fear, hate, and just plain ignorance that drives people to do awful things to LGBTs. I grieve for the families who have lost their children to bullying and suicide over the years and I hope one day they have the same rights and protection that I, a heterosexual, do.

    • Gally, thank you for wearing your gay pride on your heart! The suicides, the deaths.. they are just heartbreaking consequences of wide spread ignorance on our part.. Thanks for being on board with me, it gives me great strength!
      Rachana.

  2. I am hysterically crying right now. In that moment, when you realized, when he told you…. what you grew up believing (or what was ingrained culturally)… you understood! You wanted to take those words back. Your realized the power of words. You grew as a person, as a human, as a mother. Do you know how many refuse!? I hope mother’s (and people) everywhere can read this post. I wish I could give you a hug. Thank you for sharing is A HUGE understatement Much Love, Wendy

    • Wendy, thanks for writing, and a big thank you for getting the gist of the story, and yes my dear, I am still crying, the past two days have been gut-wrenching and extremely painful, a small price we pay to create awareness, don’t you think?! Thanks for the link and the inspiration, imagine from me to you a big, tight hug..!!
      Have a Great evening!
      Rachana.

  3. It takes a whole lot of guts to admit you got it wrong but changed your mind as you learned more. I admire you immensely for sharing that journey. I hope more people can learn from that.

    I am glad your son is safe and well.

  4. Rachana, you don’t just deal with the small issues of life, do you?! You are fast becoming my hero! I am in awe of your courage. You stand tall with your base of respect.

    Two of my closest women friends were each married to men, trying to be “normal”, deathly afraid of ‘coming out’ while dying inside. Individually, (and at different times) they came to me asking me to walk with them as they finally became true to themselves. Each ended her marriage with all the love possible each step of the way and each started life again with the woman she loves.

    Their fear of rejection and abandonment from their families was horrific. However, both of them made the transition to gay relationships with such dignity that their families of been supportive, inclusive and loving.

    As a heterosexual, the trust and faith they have given me has been one of the most significant love experiences I have had in life.

    Both women are such loving souls and give that love to countless numbers of others through their community work and professions. It’s likely the closest I will ever come to feeling like a mother. If your son can be true himself from such a young age, I take my hat off to him. It means he will not have to delude himself or others in order to take his place in this world.

    • Amy, thanks for reading and telling me about those two courageous women! And listening to you first hand about them, feels so encouraging and so positive! If there are hard feelings, no party ends up benefiting in the big scheme of life.. :( And people often don’t realize the importance of a loved one until it is too late.. !
      And, thank you for those kind words, you talk like you have no idea about the influence YOU have had on my life.. That is where you are unique!!
      Thanks for being there!
      Rachana.

  5. What a powerful post, Rachana, I absolutely salute you!!!

  6. When it comes to writing fiction that is hard to recognize as such you’re a master! ;-) I already learned to be careful with the autism story so I started reading with suspicion, but I’ve got to admit that if didn’t know already few things about your family I would still had doubts about what is real and what is fiction ;-)

    When I believe in something, I can be a bully sometimes until people accept my views or at least succumb just to get me off their necks … however, history seems to be full of stories that for some things, change is possible only when a new generation replaces the old one … and homophobia seems to be one of them :-(

    As you know, I was recently involved in a conference whose main topic was the future of education. In a Twitter competition for the best thought on this topic, a Principal from a secondary school said:

    “Can we afford to wait for the next generation of educators to “be the change”? Tomorrow’s teachers are in our classrooms today!”

    I find this question applicable to more than just education! We’re missing on the opportunity of teaching the current generation of kids compassion! You said compassion starts at home, but when you’ve got parents and even entire communities or countries suffering from compassion deficit, someone else needs to step in!

    I don’t have an answer how to ensure we bring an end to homophobia in a single generation change … all indicators suggest we’re utterly failing with the current generation and we’re unsure if they will do any better with the generation after … but that doesn’t mean we should give up hope!

    Showing gay pride publicly may just be one good way to inspire more people to do the same … and when people are inspired they learn … we just need to ensure that the inspiration knows of no age, social or other boundaries and reaches to the new generation!

    Thanks for this fantastic and inspiring post!

    Cheers,

    Kima

    • Thank you Kima for taking time out of your schedule to read and comment, means a lot especially because you are busy working on your own causes! You always enhance the value of my post with your comments and I appreciate that! That is true, that inspiration can be sought after by anyone, any age and any culture.. But, that is probably also true for hate filled copycat crimes, and now that makes me wonder.. Personally, I have begun this journey, changing myself and making my boys grow up instilling similar values.. It is a small brick to fill up the gap, but slowly and steadily, the hope is we will get there.. ! Again many thanks for stopping by Friend.
      Rachana.

  7. Great post Rachana. I do believe my generation is more accepting of people, whether they’re from different cultures or lifestyles, such as homosexuality. I have come across the stories of the children killed because of their homosexuality, but the hatred that happened to homosexuals in the past are far worse and far higher in numbers. Now, I’m not making an excuse for the crimes that have happened recently, it’s a damn shame that even if this time that there are those as ignorant as to hurt someone for something they choose to be (which doesn’t even effect the attacker, he just is so close-minded that he doesn’t want to accept difference). My point of this really was that we HAVE come a long way compared to what we used to be. I’m quite proud of my generation, there will always be ignorance in any generation, but the number is dwindling, and will continue to do so.

    Hope you didn’t take what I was trying to say the wrong way, always enjoy your post because I can always go on and on about the topic, :).

    Mr. Mojo Risin

    • Mojo, did you realize that Kyle is almost as old as you are..? And just like you, he is kind, understanding and practical in his approach towards life.. :)
      There is something about your comment, that I have to talk about Mojo.. I completely agree with the part where you say that the current generation of college goers are making it easy for their peers to come out of closet and otherwise not hang their head low about their sexual preferences.. However the problem I have has to do with the crime rate and the new levels of torture some people face with when they choose to be just themselves.. In the world where we live in, where we are already busy by hooking up with computers, Ipods, Ipads etc, who are these people who have the time to plot and commit such atrocities instead of minding their own [explicit removed by Heart] business .. ??
      Thanks for stopping by Mr.!
      :)

      • I completely agree Rachana. The world is filled more with people who use violence against those who are different than compared to the past, as if somehow the world became insane, and those who couldn’t manage to fight off the insanity finally cracked and now are filled with anger and hate. However, I don’t feel it came with my generation nor any of the generations that are still around, I feel they has always been those who were in the state of mind to be harmful against those they cant (or choose not to) understand. I believe the computer and the advancement in technology altogether is what made this violence more open, because now all the crazy racists, sexists and related acts of hateful souls have the internet to spew their hateful words and acts for the world to see. That is why I feel the way I do, but I still have faith in my generation and those that will follow because I know with the right push in the right direction that we will help the children realize at younger and younger ages that the words that a racist, sexist or homophobic person says, are not words to be paid attention to.

        always love the talks we have :).

        Mr. Mojo Risin

        • So, we are talking, aha, for a second I thought we were throwing punches.. ;) So, I think you have a valid point, maybe the violence, the ‘bad’ people, have always been there on this planet.. But because the way we communicate has changed, I think these acts are now ‘breaking news’ on our computers everyday for us to see and be inundated with?!?! Thanks for being on the defense, because I know I can count on you.. !!
          Have a great week!
          Rach

  8. Honest and very well written. It is not so much that one fails their child in circumstances such as this, it is when they fail to grow from the experience. It was as important for Kyle to voice how he felt as it was for Mom to know and proceed from there. I see no wrong doing in this story except for the driver who hit and ran and I see growth and learning and awareness taking place. Very good post.

    • Leslie, thanks for stopping by to read!! You are right, at least the mother / the friend / the stranger, can mitigate the effect of the horror that has taken place, by learning and not committing another hasty act.. I appreciate you lacing your comments with adjectives that thrill me!!
      Thanks,
      Rachana.

  9. Great post, well done!
    Many people hate what they are told to hate, i.e. they just believe prejudices told by other people without questioning the reasons (in many cases based on religious views).
    Why can’t people just let other people be the way they are?
    Why do people always try to force others to be what they consider to be “normal”?
    Your blog motto fits here: “Live and let live!”

    • Thanks for stopping by Timo! I have the same exact questions too.. ! Sadly, as you say, the majority of cases underline the influence of religion in their actions.. Which is why it is sometimes also referred to as Blind faith :) And that is why I wanted to name the title of the piece, Cult of Compassion..
      Have a great week ahead!!

    • Thanks for reading Jingle, you are one super busy woman, but you make sure you save a few minutes for everyone’s writing.. !! Thanks for the wishes, hope you had a safe Trick or Treat as well :D You made my day with the awards, thanks, I will try my very best to write something for the holidays!! Have a great week!
      Rachana.

  10. http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/halloween-party-at-jingle-poetry-monday-poetry-potluck-tomorrow/

    Happy Halloween to you.
    Hope to see you at our poetry potluck Halloween party tonight. Post a poem on Halloween, or share an old poem unrelated to the theme, link in as soon as we are open, that’s how you get the best result of feedback.
    Feel free to take any awards from this post, enjoy!
    xxx

  11. Scent of my heart November 1, 2010 — 1:38 pm

    Very touching post! I thought is all real, but then form the comments saw it’s just a fiction! Great talent!

  12. theextinctexistentialist November 1, 2010 — 3:37 pm

    I too thought this was a real story. It wasn’t until reading the comments that I realized it was fiction. Extremely well done and what a great message. Thanks for writing.

    • Thanks so much EE, it feels great when you say that because you have read quite a few great pieces of our times! I am too small for comparisions, but I am always glad if I am able to hold your atttention span for a few minutes! Thanks for the encoraging words, Rachana

  13. There’s a lot that can be said about this issue and I think you made a powerful statement with this post. I do not comprehend hate crimes. No human being deserves to be a victim of such violence. I cannot understand how the way a person is can be so threatening that we would hurt them. It’s mind boggling. I pray that society overcomes these meaningless acts.
    Beautiful, poignant and powerful post Rachana. Moved me. :)

    • Thanks 83 for stopping by, it just proves once again whether you are Filipino or American, violence is just something very hard to digest, and you said the same in your comments!! I enjoy your blog anytime I visit and your latest one was equally engaging as your previous posts!! Thanks for the visit, hope to read more book reviews soon! Thanks! Rachana

  14. http://thursdaypoetsrallypoetry.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/the-celebrate-poet-of-september-awards-officially-won-via-votes/

    the celebrate poet of September award for you,
    plus the honorable mention,
    Enjoy!
    u rock!

    yes, I am busy,
    thanks for the understanding…

  15. PS – Just wanted to let you know I love your grandmother’s quote (“If you don’t have a kind word to say, then say nothing..”) –

    It sounds like something my Nana would also say ( as well)

    *cyber hugs*

    • I know, right?! I guess, we are what we are because of these worldly-wise women who raised us!! :)
      And shall I tell you a fun fact, I have had zero spam since I posted this Grandmother quote.. How cool is that?! Yup, I just jinxed it ;) Love my cyber hugs, so girlie yet so lovely, thanks :D

  16. Nice thought …
    Take a look on my very creations…
    http://ashbeezone.wordpress.com/category/talent-underground/poetry-zone/
    Hope you wud like it sure !! ;)

  17. There is so much pain in this whole issue. I do believe that we shall be judged on how we’ve judged others. You have written this as a touching testimony…blessings to you. Thanks for your comments on my blog.

  18. I’ve been biased against gays too until I veered away from religion and discovered that gays are not that evil and could be very good friends.
    Your header reminds me of a Paul McCartney James Bond theme song. Guess what.
    I voted your blog as intelligent. You should submit your unique posts to StumbleUpon. Do you?

    • Pochp, it was great stumbling upon you today at Dood’s place :) Thanks, for your honesty when you revealed how you had switched sides on the issue, rare to find such honesty, so feel very good about it! And thanks for your kind words of feedback, it is overwhelming because there are too many of your good things for me in one place right now :)
      Live and Let Live is a principle on which my father has lived all his life and does so even now.. It sometimes bothers me, the limits he can go to prove his gentle ways.. :)) I am still an apprentice under him, so you know where I stand :)
      And you can take my word, when I tell you that I am getting to your website every time you have something up, because you seem to have the best picks for news broadcast.. :D
      I have not had the bandwidth of registering on SU, but I am grateful for a few friends who do that for me from time to time.. For now, I am glad to have readers like you!!! And thanks for the vote ;)

  19. I know this probably took courage. I bless you for it. You are not afraid to tackle serious and controversial issues, though this one certainly should not be controversial.

    Kudos to you for a well-written, well-considered, and compassionate post.

    Bravo! You do indeed have a lot of heart, Rachana.

    • Jamie, thanks so much for your encouragement! I appreciate you stopping by in spite of your busy schedule with NaNo and the novel!! Hope you are writing well but also taking of much needed Zzzzzzs.. ;) Good luck!

      • I always have time for my blogging friends, no matter what.

        Until I come over today to check and see if you’d posted again, I’d forgotten that you’d addressed this topic.

        We had a sad and devastating event yesterday just a few miles from my home:
        http://musingbymoonlight.com/2010/11/08/storm-raging/

        Thanks for the gift of your beautiful spirit and your beautiful blog.

        • Jamie, thanks for writing and thanks for supporting humanity! It is so painful and disgusting to read, but your reply to them was equally powerful!!! Let us not even get to religion, even before worshipers, aren’t we are basically human?? So much of ignorance and rage, I wish I can give something to keep them occupied and get the use’less’ minds off of “who’s sleeping with whom and how”.. Let me see what I have here, will knitting keep them busy??
          :)
          Love and happy writing NaNo!!

  20. *Bravo* Beautiful, heartfelt writing

  21. Thanks for visiting my BLOG !!

  22. Its an amazing post. I am gradually becoming a fan. want to become your 22nd subscriber

  23. This post hits hard at our tendency to categorize people, and it does so by simply stepping aside and letting us do it to ourselves. I don’t know if human nature will ever develop to the point where we see each individual as unique, but writing like this will certainly open a few eyes. Very powerful stuff, and well-written.

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