WARNING - I am pretty sure, I'm going to be slightly politically incorrect somewhere in here. I haven't written this as I write this warning, but based on what's going on in my head, do not enter if you are overly sensitive. Or if you do, and you get offended, well, don't say you haven't been warned.
I admit that when I lived in the BIG cities where Pride is huge, I didn't necessarily feel the need to go every year. In fact, I didn't go every year.
When I lived in San Francisco, I'd go to the dyke parade the night before, but that was, well, simply hoping to pick up a dyke. There were a lot to choose from, so I hoped maybe one might plop into my lap.
When I lived in the LA area, I went once or twice, and then only specifically to meet with friends who were in town.
The first year I came out, I lived near DC. And Pride happened on Father's day. As interested as I was in going then, I deferred in honor or out of respect for my father, who was a little anxious for my safety. As this was back when caveman knuckles still dragged on the ground, I can appreciate his concern. And either way, it was an inexpensive gift.
Once I figured out I was gay, there wasn't much of a closet for me. In college, I had come out to the entire school my first year by October. (When I do things, I kinda do them big sometimes!)
I am not a "big fan" of Pride. This doesn't mean I'm a detractor, yet. But I guess the reason I don't need Pride is that I live Pride every day.
Pride provides a couple of key things. One, it gives people who might otherwise be in a closet on occasion a chance to be out and proud and feel accepted (except by those haters on the corner telling us that our party will end in flames... but we ignore those people). Two, it gives people a chance not to feel alone - to realize that they aren't the only gay person in the _____ [fill in the blank - world, city, etc.].
Both of those contribute to someone feeling proud about themselves - they don't have to hide, and they feel supported that they aren't alone.
I've never really needed it because I don't know HOW to hide (fool!) and for the most part I haven't felt so alone. I admit, living in small town, it was nice to be amongst my people this year.
So why did I go? To meet old friends who DO go every year. In fact, they were some of the friends I met up with in LA that year I went.
Now understand that I don't begrudge or intend to belittle at all anyone who likes or enjoys or needs or wants Pride. And like any gathering of people, it's a great time to people watch, and people exhibiting "Pride" also tend to "exhibit" a whole lot more (particularly, in San Francisco). - and that can be fun to watch, too.
But as I woke up this morning, I thought about what it would be like if other groupings or "affiliations" got together for "pride" parades.
I mean, if we got together for White Pride, they'd call it a KKK rally. If we got together for Black Pride, well, let's face it, the cops would be called, and those folks over at the White Pride parade would be scared. Irish Pride works only on March 17th, and that's really mostly because they share all that beer. German Pride would scare all the Jews. (Although, if they, too, shared their beer, they might be more acceptable). It would be silly to have a long-hair parade, or a ten-fingers-parade.
And yet, to me, all of these things are inherent qualities of who we might be as individuals. I understand the need to not feel alone, and I understand the need to let others see us when we otherwise feel invisible. But I pray for the day when we won't "need" a Pride parade. When every day will be a pride parade, and everyone will know who we are and not think twice about us.
Until then - Happy Pride season everyone. Go hug your favorite gay person and remind them you love them just the way they are.
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