Honoring Gay Faves in our community
This month, O&AN honors our readers’ picks for Nashville’s GayFaves. These selections reflect some of the very best of Nashville, in the eyes of its LGBT community, even if many of favorites didn’t quite make the cut this year.
We are especially proud to be able to add a Wedding Services category this year. Yes, these services have been provided for years in the area to couples who have had commitment ceremonies and other services, but in less than a year they have come into wide-spread enough use for readers to be more familiar with the many LGBT-friendly options Nashville has to offer.
Likewise, we have covered some of the significant celebrations and community events this month, from TEP’s Olympus to the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The former reminds us how far we’ve come, while the latter reminds us how far we have to go. But both are in a true sense celebrations of living life as who we are, with all the benefits and dangers inherent in that, and both are reminders of the true value of family (both literally and metaphorically) and community.
News that a community member was organizing a special Thanksgiving celebration for those who have been alienated from family—who in many cases reject them because of their sexuality—highlights all of these points. Long past the end of the struggle for rights, should it ever come, the war for social acceptance will continue. Being who you are still has a hefty price tag economically and in terms of physical and emotional wellbeing for many of our fellow LGBTQ people.
But we can’t change everyone, at least not right away, and being who we are also allows us to free ourselves, if we allow ourselves to, from toxic situations, and to live into the best version of ourselves. It allows us to surround ourselves with the kind of people who can affirm us and lift us up. It allows us to create the families that we wish we had, or should have had—or for those of us with fabulous families, to graft new branches onto that family tree and help heal wounds where we can.
But that Thanksgiving celebration is more than a human interest story to make us feel better about the world and the sometimes $#!tty hands it may have dealt us. It’s a reminder that physically, many people have nowhere to go for the holidays, and that many of us who are doing just fine have materially have no one to go to for the holidays (perhaps its only our insecurities that might keep us from reaching out to friends and new-family, but that’s a real barrier nonetheless).
As we move into celebrating the holidays, let’s all try to be aware of those around us, to reach out and build bridges with people, and try to connect the pieces of our broken community. You may not be in need of more “family” but you never know whom else is in dire need of just that until you make the offer sincerely open.
There’s an old way of subtly communicate to someone that another person is LGBT—they “are family”—and this year would be a good time to start making that more than just a saying.