wisdom

Embrace Your Authentic Self, Even in the Face of Prejudice.

There have been many times in my life where I have felt like I didn’t fit inside my skin, but for me, that was always a metaphor.

With a little emotional support, it wouldn’t be long before I felt right and whole again. That is not the case with those who experience being born in the wrong body. No amount of therapy is going to change what they know is true in their hearts. The same way therapy can’t change a person’s skin color or sexual orientation.

And yet, we live in a world where some still believe that it isn’t the body that needs to change, it’s the psychology of those they see as not normal.

The prejudices that plague our society cannot ultimately stop anyone from being their authentic self, but it takes courage to face that prejudice, face those who would call anyone not normal. I wish it didn’t. I wish we were all loving people, who celebrate the beauty of humanity’s diversity, treat one another with honor and respect, thus creating a harmonious world. I hold this dream, as do many others.

As things are today, it’s up to each of us to stand with those who would be marginalized, and stand with anyone who simply wants to be their authentic self and live a full, thriving life in society.

I attended a gathering of black Baptist leaders. There were close to a thousand people in attendance. The head Bishop stood up in front of us all and discussed how, when he was a young man, his blood was refused by the Red Cross because of their fear that it would turn white patients black. He spoke of how far race relations had come, and how grateful he was that Christ’s love was winning.

In the next breath, he spoke about the atrocity of gays. How gays should be rooted out of every church and fired from any position. He compared being gay to a cancer that needed to be eradicated. The majority of the room rose up with fervor, shouting “Amen!” and many other words of agreement.

The surreal part of all of this is the reason I was there. I was hired to assist the gay man in charge of videotaping the event. Just as I was about to jump up and shout out my indignation, he grabbed my shoulder and shook his head. I stayed silent that day. I have not stayed silent any day since.

Edmund Burke, a British statesman from the 1700’s, said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” That is why I became a filmmaker, so as not to stay silent. I want to put right in front of all of us the cruel injustices that are happening in what is supposed to be a civilized society, and encourage those who feel marginalized. Filmmaking has given me a powerful outlet for my outrage.

It is up to each of us to find our calling for the greater good. There are many, many ways we can stand for what is good and right, fair and just, so that Love really can win, and we can all have the freedom to live happily and thrive as our authentic selves. I encourage you to embrace the beautiful, authentic self that you are, and to ask, “What is mine to do for the greater good in our world?”

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Rev. Cliff Rubin is the Senior Minister at Spiritworks Center for Spiritual Living in Burbank, CA. He is also the grateful husband of Ashley Fuller Rubin and father of Isaac Rubin. After achieving a BS in Filmmaking from the Los Angeles Film School, he has put together a troupe of amazing congregants to inspire through film, to creatively do what Mahatma Gandhi so eloquently stated, “Be the change you wish to see.”

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