I’m a playwright.
I have been since I was eight years old, with several long breaks from developing scripts.
Fiction is something to read, not to write, unless telling a story a different way would help the end of a play scoot along.
That’s what happened with Pulse.
I was struggling to write the story of saints Galla, Felicity, Sebastian and Paulinus who inhabit contemporary characters dealing with the Pulse nightclub shooting on the day of their double wedding.
I was struggling to write the play, and then decided to write it as a short story to see if any ideas came to light.
They did, and as a result I earned a second Honorable Mention in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, and at long last have a fourth story to go in my planned collection.
The story has helped me move the play along, and I can’t wait to see it on stage or possibly screen.
A week ago today I listened as the Supreme Court of the United States grappled with whether firing someone from their job for being gay or transgender should be illegal.
I have at least two close family members who are LGBTQ, as well each of my two best friends from high school, the director I work closely with on my work, and many other friends and colleagues. If they were fired from their jobs, children’s lives would spiral into poverty, a hospital connected with an Ivy League medical school would lose a renowned lecturer and physician. One construction company lost a master architect, builder and project manager. New York theater would lose a lion’s share of its luster. A brilliant lawyer’s firing would leave a massive hole in a major city law firm.
My friend Herman Duarte from Costa Rica (who emigrated from his family home in El Salvador because being gay in El Salvador became untenable) built his own civil rights law firm after finding no firms would hire him due to coming out as gay. I once wondered why gay people needed marriage when they could have civil union. When I met Herman in 2017, he spoke on activism and civil rights and said, “As a man, as a man with family values, as a Catholic man, I’ve always wanted marriage and family.” Herman said it’s painful to think of being excluded from it.
I continue my work writing women’s stories, human stories, and I searched for credible sources illuminating possible saints who were LGBTQ. There were undoubtedly many, and I chose as my inspiration Felicity, Galla, Sebastian and Paulinus. I made Felicity and Sebastian twins, about to marry, respectively, Galla and Sebastian, and in all the trappings of a hectic wedding morning, they await news of their sister, Josephina, who was scheduled to be DJ at Pulse nightclub. It takes place June 12, 2016 and continues to a ceremony, a crowd holding candles, and a beacon of hope.
Are people who are LGBTQ humans entitled to the rights and freedoms we all have?
Should they be fired simply for being LGBTQ?
Don’t these seem like simple questions? A supervisor’s religious beliefs shouldn’t enter into it.
Do they fire employees who are greedy or selfish? Do they fire employees for living with their spouses before marriage, or who have a partner to whom they’re not married? Not usually. Do they fire employees for getting divorced? For getting tattoos? For shaving? For wearing blended fabrics?
Not usually, unless it somehow interferes with the job.
Then there’s nothing in the Judeo-Christian law that should cause them to object religiously to whom someone loves.
If you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t get one. But the fact that others do in no way harms, threatens or negates the sanctity of any heterosexual marriage or family. It’s not about you. It’s not about us.
Yet it’s about all of us.
Most Americans believe a person who is LGBTQ is born that way.
One of my cousins has struggled with members of our ideologically diverse family, many of whom carry conservative religious values. I’ve known he had a different way of relating to people and the world since I was seven. Seven. I didn’t understand sexuality then, but I recalled that time as an adult, remembered a time later when my mother told me there was at least one someone I cared for very deeply who is gay. She wouldn’t tell me who. I have no idea if she meant my cousin or not.
Does the law allow us to fail to hire someone or fire people who are LGBTQ for other inborn traits?
I don’t understand how this is a question in 2019.
I haven’t always been a perfect ally, but I’ve always been an ally. There has not been a time I’ve rejected someone’s friendship or work partnership or anything because they are gay. And I will stand up for their rights. I will partner with and stand by people like Herman, who are trying to save lives and create a more just world for us all.
When we did “Maximalista,” an LGBTQ writer for the Huffington Post acknowledged that we uplifted and informed about various sexualities.
Lin Manuel Miranda said at the Tony Awards soon after the Pulse shooting: “Love is love is love is love is love is love.”
Let’s concentrate on love and put enough light into the world that hate fades away.