Tuesday, June 25, 2024
There was a quiet energy as we walked in. Tables were covered in rainbow flags and sported mounds of colorful fabrics cut precisely to fit the Sage dolls kits I stuffed the night before, a stark contrast to the subdued atmosphere of any typical senior center. Today's agenda: "We Are All the Same Inside" Sage doll-making workshop, with a brief introduction to the significance of LGTBQ+ Pride. Terrified as per usual, I opted for a gentle approach, focusing on the universality of emotions and the participants experiences with dignity. The discussion then shifted to the Stonewall Riots, a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history. I saw a flicker of recognition in some eyes, while others held a polite curiosity. Instead of heavy jargon, I used terms like "finding success in your own uniqueness” and "having a sense of belonging." It felt more inclusive, a bridge across generations. Soon after fabric scraps and paint transformed into whimsical Sage dolls, each one unique, mirroring the diversity within the room. Yet, a sense of unity pervaded as we stuffed and stitched, a silent testament to our shared humanity. As the workshop ended, a few participants lingered. An awkward silence settled – the kind that precedes a question long held back. It started with, "When did you know you were… different?" followed by the more loaded, "Isn't it a choice?" I answered each question with respect, emphasizing that sexual orientation and gender identity are part of who we are, not choices we make. However, the most touching moment arrived when a woman with rheumy eyes confessed, "My granddaughter just came out as a lesbian, and my grandson… well, he's changing into a girl. I don't know what to do." Looking into her worried face, I offered the simplest advice: "Love them." It wasn't a dismissal, but a foundation. Love, I explained, could build bridges of understanding, open doors to communication, and create a safer space for their loved ones to thrive. Going to the senior center that day, wasn't just about crafting Sage dolls; it was about crafting connections. Like the colorful fabrics used that day, we celebrated that pride in oneself can become the most beautiful spectrum.


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Since the year 2000, a friendly plush doll named Sage was invented to spread their message of peace and solidarity through books, digital stories and doll-making workshops.
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