I sat down to write a piece last week honoring PRIDE month for The BGB Studio Blog with a specific direction in mind. Then, a few days later, the Orlando shooting took place. The atmosphere of the world greatly shifted and so did my words, or lack thereof. I felt numb as my mind raced with confusion, sympathy, denial, and hopelessness. In times like this, I have learned to soften to the vulnerability underneath. So, I do NOT forge ahead with more hate against the haters, but I choose to move into something deeper behind the hatred. Love. For in the end, love wins.
As our country strengthens and becomes more tolerant, it also boils at the surface with continued bigotry, bullying, hostility, and mass murder. We are now desperately trying to identify the shooter’s motives in order to file the destruction into a tidy box, but the facts show we continue to live in a messy, intolerant society. The fear and revenge that lie dormant in many people are only heightened as new voices give a path for this hatred to be activated. Even my own venom surfaced with the event, as past wounds tore open from the relentless bullying I received as a gay/bisexual teen. How does one move forward with love when we are surrounded by hate?
We begin with our own community that we engage with every day. As an LGBTIQ actor, I have experienced homophobia on set with directors making “fag” jokes or crew members making raunchy sexual references; both thinking I am straight. I have also witnessed limited casting decisions based on an actor’s public sexual identity, in the mindset that ratings will be poor if an openly gay actor is cast as straight. An actor’s portrayal should offer a glimpse into the humanity of the character, regardless of sexuality, gender, race, or body type. These combined elements have caused me to hide in fear at times, but now more then ever I move into a state of action.
It is time for us, as members of the film and television industry, to go beyond our limiting belief systems, and open up to a tolerance that supports the artistry of all. We have the power at our fingertips to shift cultural paradigms, so let’s all do that. We have a visibility that is greater than most, so let’s help others find their strength and solidarity. For some it may now seem tougher than ever to proclaim a truth within a world portraying an undercurrent of hate. But, our unshakable community continues to shine clearer and stronger, welcoming all with open arms.