I went clothes shopping with my wife this past weekend, faced with the daunting task of finding me an outfit for a black tie wedding.
After trying on umpteen “looks like I’m playing dress-up… badly” outfits in the women’s stores/sections, we saw a store with a rack of men’s designer suits out front and everything inside me just clicked into place. OH, to be able to wear THAT to the wedding, I thought just as my wife said “omg you HAVE to try one of those on!”
Sale price passed the test, so I started sifting thru the rack looking for my size. A sales woman approached and I braced myself for the usual questions of “are you shopping for a gift? what size is he?” … but instead, what she said was “let me know if you don’t see your size there. We have others in the back.”
THAT is what inclusion feels like. Like what I was doing was no big deal. Like not having to explain or justify what I most naturally, authentically, and genuinely feel and do.
I tried on that suit, and to my surprise, it fit PERFECTLY. And it felt absolutely like the strong, confident, feminine (yes, even in a men’s suit. particularly in a men’s suit) me. And you’d better believe I bought it on the spot faster than you can say “black tie wedding.”
At the register, the cashier starting ringing up my purchase and asked, “So how did it fit?” and continued on to tell me how that’s one of his favorite suits and that sometimes he wears the pants with a casual top or sometimes the jacket with jeans and “isn’t the stitching on the collar just lovely?!?”
THAT is what inclusion feels like. Like what I was doing was no big deal. Like the “different” of me mattered less than our “same.”
We so often make the concept of inclusion such a big deal. We debate the Godliness of GLBTQ people. We argue the theology of homosexuality. We blockade our compassion behind our fears, uncertainties, and assumptions about how it feels to be in the shoes of someone so seemingly different that we just can’t figure out how to understand them.
We turn inclusion into two distinct camps of “us” and “them,” both sides nervous of the impact of including “the other group” in our inner circle.
I’ll take that risk when I show up at the black tie wedding in a men’s suit, allowing “them” into my inner world of seeming disconnect from “the norm.” And perhaps in return, it will be honored as no big deal.
I do realize deep, lasting change may at times require upheaval, debate, and clashes of opinion and theology. But maybe the change can be expedited and/or less damage done in the process if we consider the possibility that the repercussions of inclusion might really just be … no big deal.
Like this marriage proposal (see video below) bringing together two women in an outpouring of support from their friends. The proposal was certainly a big deal… but the fact of it being two women? No big deal.
THAT is what inclusion feels like.