love wins

A few words, some thank-yous, and a whole lot of pride by Kailee Haong

I tried for days to formulate meaningful words regarding what occurred in Orlando. I typed sentences, retracted them. I jotted down words on pages just to erase or cross them out. Inevitably I came to one conclusion: Me, the girl that talks too much or writes too often—I simply can’t find any words for this situation.

When you boil it all down, the one thing we need is love. The LGBTQ+ community needs love. we need to stop being pushed under the rug and forgotten after everyone has made their “prayers for ____” posts and photos of rainbow flags with hashtags screaming #solidarity or #istandwithyou. Because support isn’t a 24-hour deal. True support comes in the form of friends reaching out after the attacks telling me that they love me, that they wanted to remind me that my feelings are valid and I’m important (seriously, you guys are my backbone). True support comes in active change, rather than passive proclamations of peace. True support is involvement, not thoughts or prayers.

See us. Hear us. Grieve with us.

I was genuinely afraid to attend the Seattle Pride Parade on Sunday, for fear of the worst-case scenario. It disheartened me to feel uncomfortable in an environment where I’d previously felt nothing but love and acceptance. Despite my apprehension, I went anyways, because my desire to stand with my community during this time was stronger than my fear of any acts of hate against us.

The support and love in Seattle was overwhelming. Never before have I felt so proud and so comfortable being hand-in-hand with my girlfriend in such a huge city.

So, here’s my cheesy, personal-garbage-esque caveat:

I am proud. I am really damn proud of who I am, where I’m going, and the girl I love. It certainly isn’t easy being so unapologetically ‘you,’ but it’s something I’ve always strived to do. Hate can’t stop me. Fear won’t stop me.

I am here. I am visible. I am proud. I am loved, supported, and cared for, and that’s just what I’m going to do to everyone else in my life.

To my LGBTQ+ friends: I love you guys like mad—especially those who have confided in me and felt comfortable and safe enough to do so. You’re loved, and I’ll always be here to support you. (And to the closeted ones, you’re strong and beautiful and I love you).

To my incredible hetero buddies: You guys make the best allies out there. Thanks for always having my back and please know that I will always have yours.

To my family who’s supported me no matter the circumstance: You’ve proven that me being me is a-ok and I couldn’t thank you enough for that.

To my girlfriend who goes through the same prejudice and hardships: I will never hide you, I will never stop holding your hand in public, I will never stop being proud to love you.

To leave you with a quote as always:

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.
— Tennessee Williams | A Street Car Named Desire

xx, Kailee

A truth (now) (almost) universally acknowledged by Kailee Haong

This is going to be a very long overdue post, but I think it needs to be made.

I will preface this post by stating that it brings me sadness, the fact that I will have to block more than just a few people from being able to view this. Friends, it’s 2015, it’s time to show a little less intolerance and a little more compassion.

This past year has been a year of personal growth, understanding, and self-acceptance after years of not being comfortable with who I was. Why the sudden change? Because some small part of me mustered up the courage to let my guard down, let my walls down, and to love wholly and openly. In cheesy terms? I fell in love. Hard.

I’m telling you I fell in love with a human who made me feel comfortable with who I am. Someone who helped me learn to love myself entirely—each and every little flaw included. Someone who made me see life in HD, which I’ll tell you is a lot more vibrant and a lot more satisfying than SD. Someone who made me love early Sunday morning adventures, even on weekends with hardly any sleep.  Someone I can cook with, exercise with, study with, read with, drive with, adventure with—honestly, do pretty much anything with.

If I said I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t have to block half of my family and friends from seeing this. They’d pat me on the back, ask for pictures, and congratulate me for finding a nice lad. But since I fell in love with a human who just so happens to be a girl, I still can’t be completely open for fear of condemnation or rejection. This makes my heart heavy.

So I ask you, what’s so wrong about doing all of those cool fun things with someone who happens to have the same chromosomes as you do? Why would one short, stubby Y chromosome in place of an X make my life a whole lot easier, a whole lot different?  Can you really say my “lifestyle” is wrong? Because this is the happiest I’ve felt with myself for a long, long time.

It brings me pain to see that love is still not being accepted unconditionally. So I wanted to leave a few messages to people I almost let break me down.

To the women who burned holes through our hands as we sat doing absolutely nothing wrong in a café: Grow up. We didn’t judge you for your incessantly loud church gossip, so there was really absolutely no reason for you to glance over and glare every ten seconds.

To the family that veered their children away from us to the complete opposite side of the room: News flash, but love isn’t contagious. Honestly, I wish it was, because you could use a little bit of it.

To the woman who catcalled my girlfriend when we were going out to dinner: Your slang and sick comments and your dirty, snide smile made us fearful to go out in public. You ruined the first half of our dinner and you made us afraid to go back outside.

This is not a cry for help. It’s a plea for humanity. We really need to stop wasting energy on spewing hatred and bigotry and start channeling that into acceptance and love. I would really like to see a world where I can love who I love without any fear, pain, or prejudice.

Years ago, I got really good at suppressing any feeling I thought wouldn’t sit well with my family or friends. Now? I am comfortable with myself. I am comfortable with the human being I have become. I am comfortable with the strides I have made. I am comfortable with my successes. I love myself, I love others, and I love that humanity is, albeit slowly, beginning to surface. 

To those of you who disagree: This isn’t a “lifestyle.” It’s my life. This isn’t a “choice.” It’s love. This isn’t a “sin.” It’s divine. This isn’t an “abomination.” It’s compassion. This isn’t “disgusting.” It’s beautiful.  This isn’t all of the other nasty words I have seen countless times again and again. It’s love. It’s pure, genuine love. And if you’re reading this disagreeing with me, if you’re one of the people I missed in blocking this post and you’d rather me be discontent the rest of my life than be happy and myself, do me a favor. Look yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself three things you love about yourself. Smile. You hating my “lifestyle,” or me as a person does not affect me. I still think you’re a beautiful human being. Why? Because look around. Humanity is absolutely gorgeous. I’m sorry you cannot accept love, but I’m not wasting another tear on your hatred. I’m choosing happiness.

To those of you who have been supportive all along: You are the reason I have found the courage to write this.  You give me hope, you bring me happiness, and you make me feel loved. And I could never ask for anything more. I love you. You matter to me. You matter to the world. You are important and special and I am so, so thankful for you.

So, gather round, folks. I’m opening that door and I expect to see a beautiful world on the other side. You can either stand with me, or get out of my way, because I’m on to a bright future, and I’m not going to let anything or anyone stop that.

As always, here’s a quote for you. From my buddy Kurt:
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” – The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut