As the dedications for Prince continue to roll through my social world, I feel conflicted. On the one hand, a brilliant man no doubt. On the other, a man known for passive homophobia.
I understand that people can be great and flawed, I do, but this was a man who made his fame with suggestive songs and wore backless pants. A man who famously choreographed a man on man grind in 1991, a man who dressed androgynously; a man who wanted people to accept him as he was - a man who also wanted to deny people the right to love who they want to.
Not a man who shouted at anti-gay rallies or picketed gay weddings. Just a man who took from the LGBT community - a huge percentage of his fans - and yet did not believe in their right to exist.
Now more than ever, information about Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) rights are readily available. The legislation says that we are indeed human, and we deserve our rights.
Homophobia is a debate no longer. Just as we know that African-Americans have the same value as a white man and that a white man has no more value than a white woman.
However, what I do understand is that everyone comes from a different context. I will not hate my grandmother for praying that my soul won't go to hell. But I won’t condone it either. Homophobia is not a “personal belief."
It is a miscalculation at best. I will continue to challenge homophobia for every person who suffers in a hatred fuelled by fear. For my aunt who risked being sent to a psychiatric ward for coming out as a teenager; for the hundreds of kids that risk their homes and their families every year; for all of the love and the youth that has been damaged beyond repair.
There are a billion sad stories of people who risked everything to protect themselves, their lovers and us.
So no, homophobia is not acceptable. It is not a matter of opinion. It’s destructive. It’s been the name of all kinds of injustices over the years.
As we mourn Prince, I say – love him. Love him for everything great he did. But also challenge his actions. Use him to create discussion. I implore you to contest your family, friends, neighbours, and work mates when homophobia raises its ugly head, whether it be a small comment or a hate speech.
I deserve my rights, my friends, they deserve theirs. It’s time for the walls to come down.