Valentine’s Day in a World of Arrogance & Bigotry

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day conjures feelings of warmth and appreciation for those we love.  Why not for all people who love?

When I was about 19, my sister pulled me aside after dinner with our folks to tell me her secret.  She told me she was a lesbian.  My automatic response, viscerally and verbally was “Are you happy?”  I wasn’t really clear what “lesbian” meant, and it was absolutely clear that I loved her, and that my concern was her happiness.

Today she has celebrated 40 years with a fellow artist with whom she marched for civil rights, taught art, built a home and studios, laughed, loved, and suffered the ignorance of others’ blatant disapproval and bigotry.  (Did I mention that my sister is white & her wife is black?)

They are married now; and, however sweet the victory, the pain of years of palpable disdain from others lingers.  On the other hand, they are able to chuckle when they tell about who opens the front door, which depends on the repair person they are expecting.  Prejudice remains an ugly face to them, and the scars linger.

We are all on this earth for such a short time.  How dare we – the audacity of any of us – to tell someone how they should live their years, and whom and how they should love?

Until we accept others as fellow human beings with the same rights and privileges as the heterosexual, caucasian world, then we are an arrogant bunch!

None of us chose to be born, let alone selected our parents, economic situation, country, community.  People born with a proclivity towards homosexuality would not have chosen that sexual orientation – not in this culture.  Suddenly we are given life, and we’ve got to work our way through whatever we are born with and into.  It is up to each of us to figure out our lives and make them meaningful and as happy as possible, until we wear out our welcome on this earth.

Why are so many people intrusive and judgmental about how other people choose to live, when in fact they hide their own secrets, their own shame?  When you are with a heterosexual, do you question what they do in the “privacy” of their bedroom?  Do you have thoughts of their participating in anal sex, or fellatio?  How is it your business?

If someone is gay, lesbian, a cross-dresser, polyamorous, transgendered, a transvestite… if someone is having an affair, is living their life believing and worshiping a different god from yours, how is it your business?

We do not know what is living deep within the people around us – their needs, their suffering, why they choose their relationships, the agreements they have made with each other.  As human beings we all bleed, dream, are hungry, lonely.  Those of us born heterosexual are considered “normal”.  But it is the luck of the draw.  Why should the others live in a hostile world, trying to survive.  Why do we do that to our brothers and sisters?

So, as we approach Valentine’s Day, the day we honor those we love, let’s allow all human beings the right of choice- as long as they are not damaging others.  Let’s create a world of inclusion.

Look into each others’ hearts, not bedrooms, and decide if their humanity matches ours and welcome them as people, as friends.

Join the fight for their rights as full citizens of the human race!  Loving is what is heart-healthy for us all – on Valentine’s Day – every day.


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About Paula Susan

Paula Susan, MSW, LCSW, Masters in Clinical Social Work & Psychology; specialist in Trauma and Relationships since 1982. In 1991, I integrated the powerfully transformative process of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Research demonstrates that it facilitates life-altering changes more efficiently and effectively than talk therapy alone. I teach skills such as communication and anxiety relief to improve connection with others. Over the decades, I’ve come to respect how much damage even small traumatic experiences inflict on our core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. I consider it a privilege to help my clients understand and change what has undermined their happiness and their relationships. I do it with warmth, integrity, humor, and profound respect for those who care about the quality of this small piece of time we have on

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