It is that time of year again...Gay Pride. This is the time when all kinds of homos come out of the woodwork to stand up for their rights, express a feeling of unity towards a common goal, and rally together to show other GLBTQ members they are not alone. Ok, so really they are probably there to get a cocktail and maybe get laid. Whatever the reason you decide to go it's great that you show up. I firmly believe that the more GLBTQ member that show up the better and not just people of the community but those who support them.
I know for myself that Pride is something I look forward to more than Christmas...and not just because I always get at least one crappy gift. To me, Pride is a moment when the average gay man/woman can be truly free. They are united with their GLBTQ brothers and sisters to celebrate who they are and what they are. It's a time when we can be with others like ourselves and feel free in knowing that no one there is going to Judge you. No one there is going to think you are sick and perverted. You don't have to worry about who saw you there and who will find out.
It's also a time for those who are new to the community or scene to meet other community members. I remember my first pride. I knew just a few people, but that quickly changed. It helped me make some ties that I still hold dear today. It was also good for me because it was the first time I was able to totally be me in my home state. I had plenty of opportunity to do it when I lived in Las Vegas, but that was a place miles and miles away from the people who knew me best. My friends and family got to see me when I was still adjusting to being out. I then moved away for a couple of years. So, Des Moines Pridefest was the first opportunity that I had to be out and proud with those who I knew me before moving away. That may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me at that point in my life; it was a huge deal. To be cliche, I it was the first time I really felt like me at home. I was out for a few years before that point, but like I said, I was still adjusting. It was good for me to see so many other members of the community. To see that there were so many other people like myself did me a world of good. Even to this day is does me a world of good. I have evolved in my needs and ways to be recharged for the community, but I still have the same sense of joy at seeing so many other GLBTQ people as I did that very first pride.Pride is also a great place to build memories. You may not remember all the details to those memories, but memories none the less.
But, let's get real, Pride is also one amazing party. Some of my most drunken moments were at pride. Sometimes I take a look back, and I am totally grateful that I can hold my liquor. Lord knows what I would have done if not lol. During pride some use that as an opportunity to live moments they aren't able to during the rest of the year. They drink until they puke, they might hook-up, and they might dance half naked. Who knows. The point is they use the time to be the person they want to be or truly are when in their element.
This is not to say that Pride is full of bad decisions. Like I touched on earlier, Pride is a time when people come out to show support. Churches come to march in the parade to show that not all Christians are homophobic. It's a time when people are inspired to volunteer for organizations like OneIowa and HRC (The Human Rights Campaign). This is a time when our straight allies come out to show their support. These are things that make me happy for pride. Sure, I love the weekend booze-fest as much as the next guy, but to see an event that inspires people to come together to strengthen the community is amazing.
Whatever the reason you go to pride, I hope you take the time to think about what pride really is about. Yes it is a big party to celebrate, but what it is to celebrate is really important. It is to celebrate not only our individual pride in ourselves, but in the community as well. It is a time to remember those who have fought, are still fighting and will continue to fight for the GLBTQ community. I hope that between shots of tequila and cans of beer that you take the time to think about these things. Things that are important to the advancement of the community and those who are working to make it happen. Remember them, and as you walk amongst the booths and attractions; take the time to visit the booths of both your local and the national gay rights advocates. Learn more about them. Thank them even. If it were not for these people, who knows where the community would still be. We owe so much to these wonderful people.
In closing I would like to wish everyone a safe and fun Pride. I hope everyone makes good decisions and make memories that will last them a lifetime. Drink a shot for me.
This June was just named "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month" by President Barack Obama and truthfully I couldn't be happier right now. Normally, I side with Morgan Freeman and his disregard for "<insert minority> month", but right now I think it's a key step towards equality.
The point I'd like to make is one to everyone reading this, if you've ever been discriminated because of your sexuality, appearance, or anything about yourself, I feel bad. I've been at the sour end of it also; my family doesn't really support me. But enough about me and more on you, you awesome person. You are what's making this country (and the world) a better and safer place for everyone. Each time you stand up for yourself you are improving not only your life, but everyone in the LGBTA movement.
I want to share a story that some of you might be familiar with, the story of a young man named Sergio Garcia from the town of Fairfax, LA. He was named the Fairfax 2009 Prom Queen. Not only is he breaking down the arbitrary gender barriers, but he is an openly gay kid in High School (you know how hard that can be, even in a liberal high school near LA). His story is one that everyone in the movement can echo; even though I don't know if you're reading this, you are an amazing person. You are standing up to give fellow human beings the equality they deserve. Thank you.
I'd also like to mention how far we've come. A while ago Ellen had John McCain on her show to talk about same sex marriage. Not only do I think she completely won the debate, but I think she really showed how cowardly and nervous the opposition to equality really is. There isn't (and hasn't) been a respectable argument against the love or equality that same-sex relationships provide.
Now, I want you to go out with pride this month, and every day fourth. You are the movement of equality, you are strong, and you are loved. Please, help spread love around the world. We can do this.