The need to belong is a deeply human aspiration. We wear the labels of belonging as badges of acceptance. To be accepted is also high on our scale of needs. The yearning to be welcomed and celebrated as a member of something is a strong human motivator. These were my thoughts as I watched the parade of flags at the recent Pride celebration in La Crosse. The flags are symbols of identity. They are in direct response to cultural disapproval and censorship.
Never quite comfortable in society’s boxes, I understand the urge to fly a new flag – and especially one that has not yet been pigeon holed into meaninglessness. So I marveled at the youth donning their flags determined to be unique, and challenging the status quo. It is good they are given a safe space to discover. And when the organization called “Free Mom Hugs” showed up in force to celebrate Pride, they added a touch of humanity and healing desperately needed. Too many gay youth are unwelcomed at home and these mothers giving hugs play an important role in reminding them that they are indeed loved for who they are.
Another coalescing of people that has heightened my observation skills are the numerous versions of Christianity. And of course there are the political affiliations that many cling to, which satisfy the need to belong while simultaneously separating us from others. The value and strength of community is undeniable. That can be witnessed at any sports event. I have yet to understand the value of separation.
I have found it far simpler to declare myself a human being and allow for the affiliation of “citizen of the Earth”. It seems to be a direct route to the source of the need to belong. It is certainly a satisfying one.
We remain one People, one Earth. We belong.
Inserted photo is of a memorial for murdered transgender women.
Gay flag compliments of wikipedia commons.