As I strode into the terminal, I yawned. It wasn't yet 5 am, but I'd be departing soon from the airport that saw the most takeoffs and landings of any in the world. I wouldn't likely be done with the combination of air and ground travel for another 5 hours.
As I stepped onto the escalator, a voice screeched loudly in distress. Instantly, I was awake and alert. The escalator carried me on, but I listened intently. Nothing of note followed.
I might not have given it a second thought last week. Now, though, I was worried. I feared what I might find waiting for me as I was carried into the ticketing hall below. In the end, it was just a child. Who could blame them for being cranky: it was an inhumane hour to be awake.
I am unashamed, indeed proud, of who I am. My blue hair is a beacon, calling out to the world that I will not be cowed. The reminders keep coming, though: I am still hated -- we are still hated -- by people who know nothing of us. We are in the cross-hairs of groups which believe us to be unworthy of our lives.
I don't believe in respectability politics. Everyone is different, and I will not devalue the way anyone else manages to be themselves. If you want to hate me for who I am, though, know that you hate a loving, caring, nurturing person. You hate someone who strives to lift those surrounding them. My life is not a wild orgy; it's holding people close and trying to feel safe, secure, and fulfilled.
If you want to hate me for who I love, know that you hate me for loving people who have worked hard to understand who they are, and live that life as themselves as best they can, against incredibly steep odds and many hardships.
If these are values you hate, we have nothing in common, not even our humanity.
At the same time, I see many offering hatred based on the religion of others. It is saddening to see what justifications for hatred are cherry-picked in moments of convenience to hold up one's own prejudices. I won't condone that, either. Just the opposite.
You shouldn't have to understand someone to respect them, to celebrate that they are living their life as the best person they are able and understand themselves to be. Not even if they're not doing it the way you would.
Actually, especially not then.