The labels we apply to objects rarely have repercussions or consequences. The same is not true with people. We are ALL guilty of judging and labelling others to suit our purpose, justify our behaviours or to confirm a belief system we have. What we don't stop to think is how that effects the other person or their lives. The news has been full of terrible tales of teen's committing suicide based on being bullied and judged for who they are.
Through history humans have been so vile to one another all simply based on ignorance (in both senses of the word).
Professional dancer, Dancing with the Stars PRO, world champion and champion for EQUALITY Louis Van Amstel brought my attention to the comments of Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern (R) who said "homosexuality poses a greater threat to America than terrorist attacks". After my initial shock at her verbal expression of her internal ignorance and character I really felt sad for her and all who share her belief - sadly there are many. Those who choose to hate, bully, or waste their time and energy judging others.
Equality, Acceptance and Tolerance of ANYONE who is different for their skin color, sexuality, life choices, size, or perceived disability is ESSENTIAL to our evolution as a human race. Although fiercely promoted as a gay/lesbian issue I really believe EQUALITY to be a HUMAN issue. Louis shares my belief of EQUALITY for ALL and I had a chance to ask Louis a few questions regarding his feeling on the issue recently;
LISA: Why are you so passionate about this cause?
LOUIS: I was bullied for being fat, gay and short which I learned to deal with growing up, but I'll never forget the feeling. It's humiliating and makes you feel so lonely. I don't wish anyone to have to go through those feelings, that's why I will do anything in my power to not only advocate against bullying, but also find ways what we can do about it together.
LISA: What bothered you the most about the recent comments from Sally Kerns?
LOUIS: At first a laughed, because I thought it was a joke. When I realized she was very serious about her statement "Homosexuals are more dangerous than terrorists" it got me so riled up I couldn't let it go. I felt humiliated and I relived the same feeling again as when I was bullied as a kid. So many people have worked hard to get where they're at in life, for some person, like Sally Kern, to dare to make that statement is devastating and uncalled for.
LISA: What inspired you to write to her? Did she reply to your letter?
LOUIS: Even though I'm not a father, suddenly I felt the need to stand up for all the kids that are being bullied today and have no voice. Writing Sally Kern was the right thing to do. Sally Kern has not replied to letter to her on twitter, but I'm sending it officially to her office. I'm doing my research right now to get it through the right channels!
LISA: What can people do to help get involved and stop the HATE and bullying?
LOUIS: Let your opinion be heard, but do it in a way you're not trying to change people's mind. Sharing your opinion is enough. If you fight fire with fire it only fuels the opposition. When we all start living life excepting each other's differences we wouldn't have the HATE issue, nor the bullying. Can you imagine a world where we would all be the same? Same skin color, same hair color, same religion, same personalities????? It's the diversity in all the above that makes the world go round.
LISA: Can you talk about how you use dance to build self esteem.
LOUIS: For years I used dance as therapy. Thank goodness for dance, because for a long time it was my way to express without ever having to say one word about my feelings. Feelings of loneliness, humiliation, embarrassment etc. On the outside I looked happy, but on the inside I was pretty much numb. It was the combination of my artistic expression through movement and winning dance competitions that gave me the power to deal with my self esteem. I turned into a rebel. My true self esteem started growing when I started learning to say 'NO' if it didn't feel right for me! I started realizing following my gut feeling, which was giving me such a good feeling about myself versus my insecure mind. I also saw how the outside world was respecting me for it. To be true to yourself is really hard work and it never ends, building self esteem through dance is just so much more fun!....and cheaper...(LAUGHS)
Louis is a tireless supporter of anti-bullying and NOH8 campaigns as well as supporting people with developmental/intellectual disabilities. He has a heart even larger than his many talents. He is currently self esteem building via dance fitness with his new movement called LA BLAST! (soon to be available on DVD). Read his Blog HERE
Louis, Myself & my husband David attending a Charity luncheon/Fashion Show for KAINOS - an organization that provides housing, education and vocational training to individuals with developmental disabilities. An AMAZING organization really helping people!
This is an issue that we are all responsible to discuss, live our lives by example and teach our children and those around us tolerance. Hating back and acting out in negativity only perpetuates the problem. We should explore and talk about these issues in an intelligent and educated way. Life should be a celebration of DIFFERENCES and what makes each of us unique. It is only then can we all reach our full potentials as human beings and begin to evolve in peace; LOVE being the only label.