“Yes! My BB cream!” said Harry. My adult child had just opened one of the packages sent to my apartment instead of hers* because someone’s usually home in my building to accept deliveries.
“BB cream? What’s that?” I said, glancing at the tube while preparing the salad to go with our vegan chili and cornbread dinner.
It’s like a multi-vitamin for your face in make-up form,” Harry said. “I think you’d like it.”
“I don’t know Harry, all my facial products these days are serums that come from a dermatologist’s office.” Then I noticed the words “Physician Formula” across the top of the box. “Let me see that.”
“It’s a moisturizer, primer, concealer, brightener, and tinted foundation all in one,” Harry said. “Plus, it’s got SPF 30.”
“Wow, that’s hard to believe,” I said, handing it back. “Maybe it can replace some of the eight products I put on my face every morning.”
This wasn’t the first time I’d gotten make-up and beauty tips from Harry, a creative director who also performs as drag artist Amber Alert. They taught me how to do smoky eye make-up for Halloween and have recommended some fab hair styling products for me, too.
“I almost forgot, Mom. I have a present for you.”
He reached for the tote bag with Justin Timberlake on the cover of Rolling Stone and pulled out a large square rainbow sticker. I could see writing, but needed a closer look to read it.
“Oh, my,” I said, scanning the question on each stripe.
“I know, right?” said Harry. “It looks like a friendly pride poster, but then asks some fucking serious questions that people should be thinking about.”
The top question set off a loud internal alarm. I wanted my answer to be “Everyone thrives,” but had to do a mental auto-correct to “Everyone should thrive.”
As a parent, the question that gripped my chest was, “Who is safe?” Because the first thing I’ve always wanted for my child – from their earliest years into adulthood – is to feel safe in this world.
If everyone felt safe, stable and secure, wouldn’t they thrive? If we all accepted one another’s individuality, differences and right to our own identities, wouldn‘t we all be safe from persecution?
“Where did you get this?” I asked.
“They were handing them out at the La Mama Presents event I went to Saturday night. I’ll send you a link.
Harry emailed the link, and that’s where I learned that the sticker was created by a Flash Collective for PrideFest 2014. And each question corresponds to the meaning of the color assigned when the Gay Pride Flag was first designed in 1979: Red for life; orange for healing; yellow for sunlight/illumination; green for nature; blue for serenity; purple for spirit.
I was both moved and challenged by each of the questions and the thought behind them. I hope you’ll ponder them yourself.
I’m on the periphery of the LGBTQ community. But as the hetero cisgender mother of an adult son who self-identifies as genderqueer, I strive to be a responsible ally. The words on this simple sticker were an urgent reminder of how many people wake up each day knowing they may be treated as less than someone else.
And with the shocking statistic that 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, I imagine an overwhelming number of teenagers who cry themselves to sleep at night and far too many young children who brace themselves for rejection at school, at church or, worse, at home.
I feel sorry for the parents who aren’t learning from their LGBTQ kids, whether it’s about a beauty cream or the love required for those children to thrive. Every child wants to be accepted and cherished for who they are. And that’s not always visible by just looking at someone.
So, tell me, which question(s) struck you as most important?
**My only child Harry uses he/she/they pronouns interchangeably.
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