From the start of COVID in 2020 through the current bans on books, I have seen a good number of misinformed statements about what is true and what is actually taking place or “Lived Reality.” When the publications and research match these lived experiences, this is where the truth resides.
Between my husband and I, we both know of 12 people who died of COVID, most of who weren’t elderly but Black and Hispanic. Most of these 12 people were otherwise healthy and wouldn’t have died an early death is they had not contracted COVID. After speaking to some of their family members, I came to learn that they were more suspectable because of their ethnicity and risks associated with their ethnicity. Then some of these families shared other examples of families they knew like themselves. This is an example of lived experiences which match the news and research, that certain minority populations were more susceptible to serious COVID cases and deaths from them.
Over the last three years, I started serving in religious trauma recovery as a ministry service. Between being a parent of LGBTQ+ and Autistic young adults, my lived experiences match what I have seen first-hand in other families like my own, the research which supports lived reality within my own family, and the families of others, that there are elevated levels of trauma, suicide, and lasting damage for certain LGBTQ+ and Neurodivergent children who are raised in homes which are rejecting and non-affirming. I have seen and experienced these lived experiences first-hand by meeting hundreds of families in a similar situations to ours. Research and news which match lived reality and lived experiences are true.
Today, we have the lived reality of banned books. Listening to stories about parents trying to remove books “with porn” is not actually the case. The attempt is to remove books written by LGBTQ+ authors, simply because they are written by LGBTQ+ authors which further demonize the LGBTQ+ community for simply existing. I see it first-hand in the parent LGBTQ+ community and read about it in various sources like the American Library Association. When lived reality and lived experiences match what is being published, we have a truthful match.
Last night, I received another “Go Fund Me” link from an additional mother who has a transgender child, someone I know personally. She is trying to collect funds so she can flee Texas to keep her transgender child safe from the anti-LGBTQ+ laws and the hateful people who have wished death threats on her and her family. If a state has laws to protect LGBTQ+ children, but it doesn’t have safe people who respect those laws, this is not a safe environment for LGBTQ+ children. This is another example of lived reality which match the news, that transgender children and their families are fleeing Texas because anti+LGBTQ+ laws and their surroundings aren’t safe for them to live in. I know a number of these families like the family I mentioned.
I am learning not to believe lies about myself, that I have been badly influenced by the liberal news media. The recent Synod in Rome is all about listening. I will never again believe a news or research source until I listen to multiple stories of those who have lived experiences which Pope Francis encourages Catholics to do. This is where the truth resides. As my favorite theologian, Dr. Clarence White says, “Truth resides in the voices of the vulnerable.”