#ProudToLove...My Niece

I normally don’t use this platform to spout my political beliefs. First, I think writing about almost burning my house down with a wok and water is far more entertaining…and Second, I really try to see both sides of every issue (that must be the Libra in me.) But a few weeks ago at church my pastor gave an inspiring message about how important it is that we take a stand on issues we’re passionate about. If we see something we don’t agree with, don’t like or don’t think is fair…it is our job to make our voices heard.

And with this week’s historic Supreme Court ruling – with a 5 to 4 vote – to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but will now allow same-sex couples to receive the same federal tax, health and retirement benefits), I have to say that I am extremely upset by some of the comments my Friends have been making on Facebook.

One Friend’s status read: ‘The Supreme Court doesn’t trump God’s Law.’ Under which other friends replied ‘Amen,’ ‘Preach It,’ and (the most disturbing in my opinion)…’Amen…America is in grave danger.’

Really? Our country is in grave danger because two people love each other? I don’t know about anyone else, but I can think of about a million other reasons our country is in danger…and none of them have anything to do with love.

Now, I don’t want to jump on my soap box – because quite frankly, I think it’s annoying; And I don’t want to criticize my above mentioned friends for their beliefs – because we are all entitled to them…But I do want to tell MY story in the hope of educating those people out there who, for whatever reason, still have such a big problem accepting the fact that this is 2013 and a large percentage of our population are living openly, homosexual lifestyles. I mean, Ellen DeGeneres has the highest rated daytime talk show. Jason Collins courageously became the first openly gay professional athlete. Millions of Americans trust Anderson Cooper to deliver their news on CNN…Yet there are still people in this country who think Ellen DeGeneres, Jason Collins and Anderson Cooper are a grave danger to our society?

And while there are more and more celebrities, politicians, athletes and public figures coming forward everyday…the millions and millions of Americans in the LGBT community are the true unsung heroes in this fight for equality. My niece, Lyndie, is one of them.

That’s right…I am the proud aunt of a lesbian! I don’t talk about it much, because – simply – it’s not how I define Lyndie or our relationship. She’s my niece. I love her like my own daughter – even though we’re closer in age to being sisters. Some of her lifestyle choices annoy me to no end…but none of them have to do with her sexuality! No, I get annoyed when she drops a college class, or quits a job, or doesn’t take her health as seriously as I think she should. (All those things mothers worry about.) And I do get annoyed with some of her relationship choices – but it’s always that I think she picks the wrong girl…not that she picks a girl.

You see, I am HAPPY, ESCTATIC, OVERJOYED that my niece is an openly gay woman…because I’ve watched her struggle her ENTIRE LIFE with her identity!!!! ANYONE – and I mean ANYONE who tries to say that homosexuality is a choice, has obviously never watched someone try so desperately to make it go away!!!! (I’m tearing-up just typing this, because I’m thinking back to some very emotional, scary, life and death situations we’ve had to watch my niece experience…. none of them being anyone’s business but hers. And I’m tearing-up for my sister and brother-in-law who have had to stand by and watch their little girl navigate this road. I have to give my sister and brother-in-law SO MUCH CREDIT for being the loving, supportive parents they have been through this!!! Believe me, my sister would love nothing more than for her daughter to meet a man, get married, have some grandchildren, and live a normal life. I have to believe that the Supreme Court’s decision brings my niece one step closer to being able to do that…just with a woman instead of a man.)

My niece, Lyndie Jane Boone (I’m so honored to share my middle name with her) is one of the gentlest, big-hearted people you will ever meet. She loves to sing at the top of her lungs, banter jokes with her dad, stay up all night playing games, and snuggle up with my girls to watch cartoons. She loves her family unconditionally and we LOVE HER TOO! And there is not one thing that we love about Lyndie that has anything to do with her sexual preference… except the fact that we are SO PROUD of her for being so BRAVE to live the life GOD chose for her! (I repeat, the life that GOD chose, not Lyndie!)

So…to all my Facebook Friends who are sharing their beliefs – especially in the name of God…the same God I worship, by the way – please take a moment to think about me the next time you’re about to make a comment. I love my niece. She is my blood and believe me, she did not choose this life…this life chose her. And it breaks my heart to hear her talk about struggling with her own faith because she hears comments like yours.

The God I worship and confide in and lean on is a God of LOVE and understanding. And when my niece takes her struggles to God, he is supposed to take her pain away. I think instead of persecuting a group of people in the name of God (which, by the way, is the same way people persecuted Women and African Americans), why not make them feel welcomed by God? And if you can’t learn to find common ground with someone based on more than a box they check during a medical exam, then why don’t you leave it up to God to judge…Because, after all, isn’t he the one with the final say?

On a Side Note: I have to say...as disheartened as I was by some of the Facebook comments I saw on this issue, I was way more inspiried by all of the positive posts I saw from friends congratulating the LGBT community on this step in the right direction towards equal rights!!! I received an e-mail from YouTube with the hashtag #ProudToLove - So I ask all of you, Who are you #ProudToLove? I'd love to hear in the comments below!