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As we kick off another celebration of Pride Month, our writers discuss what diversity and inclusivity means to them and why we really do give a damn.

@JackieWaldrop via Twenty20
“What people often mean by getting rid of conflict is getting rid of diversity, and it is of the utmost importance that these should not be considered the same.” – Mary Parker Follett
Intro by Morbidly Beautiful Editor The Angry Princess

I know I’m stating the obvious when I tell you we’re living in extremely challenging and divisive times. It’s a sad and inescapable fact, and it makes watching the news feel depressing and nihilistic. Even social media has become a hotbed of negativity — set ablaze by flame-throwing and gaslighting.

Had I published my response to the events that took place a couple of weeks ago regarding a controversial article on Medium and the subsequent fallout, this would have been a very different article. But the world feels like it has changed so much in that short timespan (or, as my good friend so insightfully pointed out, nothing has changed; the ugliness is just all the more visible).

I re-read the words I originally prepared for inclusion in this article, and I tossed them all out. Every word now feels myopic, self-righteous, and out of touch. And now, in this time of national mourning and outrage, I struggle to find the right words; I struggle to find any words at all that comes close to expressing how I feel.

@andreafwagner via Twenty20

Instead, I’ll share three important things I’ve learned on the path to hope and healing:

  1. There is so much I don’t know, and the only way to learn is to listen and genuinely try to understand another perspective.
  2. We have to remain humble enough to admit when we’re wrong and compassionate enough to accept another person’s sincere apology.
  3. As much of a cliche as it sounds, change starts from within. I have to stop saying, “But I’m the good guy,” and start thinking long and hard about all the ways I fall short and all the opportunities I’m missing to be better.

Silence is not an option…for any of us. We cannot be afraid to engage in dialogue, even when we are having tough and emotionally devastating conversations. By the same token, if we are going to be brave enough to speak up rather than sit on the sidelines, we have to realize that we aren’t always going to say and do the right things. None of us are. We need to balance empathy with justice, outrage with compassion, and an equal willingness to both teach and learn.

I offered my writers a platform to express their thoughts on the horror community controversy, the turmoil of recent weeks, and what diversity and inclusivity mean to them. As usual, they more than delivered, bravely sharing their unfiltered truth in a way that makes me incredibly proud. You may not agree with everything you are about to read. You don’t have to.

@doodiebearz via Twenty20

Agreement isn’t the path to unity. Acceptance is. 

I believe satire and free speech should be vigorously defended. I also think we should care about the consequences of our speech and understand the power our words have to both heal and divide. I also believe intent matters; ignorance is not the same thing as mal