Sunday 3 August 2014

"Your Song"

We are all in this together.
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world
Your Song by Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Do you tolerate things or people in life? How about your mother in law - tolerable? Do you tolerate trips to the dentist because you know it's necessary but you secretly fear it? What about those long, boring meetings at work?
Now, how about gay people? Do you tolerate them? What about people with a mental illness such as addiction? I sure as hell don't tolerate these people and neither should you. Hear me out...
First, what does the word tolerance actually mean? Here's the Merrian Webster definition:
: willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own
: the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant
The definition is kind of two-fold. I like the first part; it's the second part that I have trouble with. The second part is how many people seem to use the word these days.
By now you are wondering why I am writing about tolerance and gay people, right? It's Pride Weekend in Vancouver and that has gotten me thinking about acceptance and diversity in our world. I heard someone say recently that "it's good that Vancouver has become so tolerant of gays." Um, OK - so that's a step in the right direction but not quite there. Is being merely tolerant good enough? Do we say, It's nice that Canada tolderates women. I don't think so.
I consider myself very lucky for a number of reasons. I live in a liberal, socially conscious city and I have had the privilege of knowing many wonderful homosexual people - some friends and some family. But not just that - I have friends who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Some friends are third generation Canadian, some are recent immigrants and some are First Nations. I know people who have had cancer, some have weathered severe depression and some who struggle with addition. Oh, and I know a few jerks, too, but I am pretty good about weeding them out pretty quickly.
My life is richly diverse and I wouldn't have it any other way. I learn so much from the people who surround me - they inspire me and they challenge what I know and believe of the world. That's a gift. So no, I don't tolerate any of these people. I choose to embrace them for the unique, one of a kind people that they are. That's what they deserve. That's what we all deserve.
KB xo
P.S. For a laugh on the ridiculousness of racism, please watch this: Aziz Ansari on Conan O'Brien


  1. Thank you so much for this post. Part of my recovery process from depression has been accepting that I am gay. It has made a huge difference in my life and in my health. But more than that also. It has really helped me learn to accept others for who they are, because that is exactly what I want expect people to do for me. There are a few people in my life that firmly believe that homosexuality is wrong. I disagree with them wholeheartedly. However, we have come to a place where we can agree to disagree and be friends still. To me, this is an amazing power of acceptance and not tolerance.

    There are days when I wish I lived in Vancouver or Toronto because while it might feel like tolerance to some, compared to Calgary it feels like acceptance and celebration. But, change is afoot here also and the shift is in the right direction and so I will work towards acceptance here.

    Ok, a long comment to be sure. You have hit on something I believe in so strongly, it is hard for me to keep myself from saying more.

    1. I love your comments, Danielle - long or short! Acceptance is such a big thing in this world, isn't it?

    2. I am glad. Acceptance is huge. The fight has been hard in the gay and lesbian community I know. I find it ironic though when that acceptance doesn't go the other way. Life I guess, but hard for me to swallow.


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