Last week I had the pleasure of representing The Pinnacle Foundation at this year’s Young Queer Leaders Conference. The conference brought together GLBTIQ youth from across the country who individually represented the best qualities of our community; strength, determination, compassion and ingenuity. The stories and personalities of the many attendees I met during the duration of the conference was nothing short of inspiring. Each individual was not only a successful and productive member of their field but was also uniquely committed to the principles of equality and inclusiveness.
When it was eventually time to share my own story and my own hopes and dreams for my career in Catholic Education; I was simply not prepared to the response I received from the assembled attendees. Almost all of the individuals in attendance came up and congratulated me after my speech and either expressed how much they related to the inequalities of my professional journey or how brave they thought I was for not only continuing my work in Catholic Education but for also striving to make the Catholic Educational community an ally in the equitable and inclusive treatment of GLBTIQ students and teachers.
Humbled and touched though I was by these words of praise, I found one key fault in their opinions; being called brave. Being called brave is something I am definitely not used to. I personally don’t consider it brave to stand up to inequality or injustice, I consider it a duty and a privilege; an opportunity to use my abilities and skills for the betterment and development of the entire human race. Leadership may be difficult, but I consider myself lucky not brave to be in a unique position to make real change in an industry that exists as the final and perhaps greatest adversary to the equitable treatment of the GLBTIQ community. Difficult though the road ahead may be, Dr. Seuss said it best, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.