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28 Jun 2013

Andrew Lippa
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony Award nominee Andrew Lippa, composer-lyricist of Big Fish, The Wild Party, The Addams Family and I Am Harvey Milk.

I was recently ordained an Interfaith Minister. Last year, at a four-day seminary retreat, one of our teachers described her experience in the early 1970's when she was in seminary. Her teacher spoke about gay and lesbian members in their class, and how they endure hardships and persecution daily. The teacher then encouraged everyone in that room to, if they identified themselves as gay or lesbian, come to the front of the class and be acknowledged by their straight peers. My teacher, not out to her classmates, decided to stand and go to the front of the room. A monumental step. And remember, it was the early 1970's.

At our seminary retreat she told us this story and asked us to do the same. Come forward. Be recognized. Be loved.

Now, I'm out and have been for a long time. But somehow the call to come forward, to be publicly loved and encouraged by my straight peers, this all felt too much for me. I wept. Sobbed, actually. But I stood up - despite the voice in my head that loudly screamed not to (who are you, old voice in my head?) - and joined my gay brothers and lesbian sisters as our straight colleagues stood and cheered for us, wildly cheered for us. I had never felt so accepted and loved. It was deep and moving and I couldn't stop crying. But it truly made me feel loved and appreciated and wanted in a way I had never quite experienced.

I'll never forget it.


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