(From left to right: Sheena - Aviva's girlfriend, Aviva and Jenn)
To my best friend and sister Aviva:
I remember your coming out like it was yesterday. It wasn't a suprise to me at all. I've known you for all but 3 years of my life, so I like to pride myself on knowing you as well as you know yourself.
What did suprise me were the reactions of our friends, your family and many others. I remember the turmoil and the pain. The tears and the worries. The hatred spewed from the mouths of those we had known since we were children. The confusion that set in because, wasn't love supposed to be unconditional?
Through that fog of negativity and sadness, I remember something much more profound. I remember my pride. My pride in knowing that my best friend - a beautiful woman who always encouraged others to be their true selves, who never judged or ridiculed, who was always open and loving toward any person - was finally living in her truth.
I can say 7 years later my pride of knowing you are living a life fulfilled beams daily. To see you and Sheena together (your relationship having lasted longer than some of our friend's marriages at this point!!) reminds me of the power of love, support and living honestly. But most of all, it reminds me of your strength and beauty - of your willingness to be who you are despite what prejudices exist. And that in itself inspires me (and many of our friends) to live honest lives.
Often times I find myself bringing up conversations with strangers that would allow me the opportunity to gush about "my awesome friend Aviva". And if they are individuals that I know do not support the community? I gush EVEN more just to prove their hatred wrong - to shine light on the dark and bring love to the cold hearted. Let it be known though, I don't love you because you are bisexual, I'm not proud of you because you are a member of the LGBTQIA community - I love you and I am proud of you because of who you are as a person.
We always say that I would be the perfect parent for an LGBTQIA child ("a black version of Debbie from QAF" sounds familiar). Well if that's true, may I say, if I have the joy and honor to have a child , be they gay or straight, I pray that they posses all of the wonderful qualities that make you the person that I love and adore.
Your sister for life,