“Are you going to pride?”
Every year this question comes up, and I can’t help but feel conflicted.
On the one hand, the answer is, yes, I would like to go. I think it’s important to show solidarity, to embrace the community, to say we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it, march in a parade, enjoy the spectacle and pageantry of all that gay pride has to offer.
On the other hand, the idea of sitting with a bunch of strangers in a completely crowded place where most of the people are partaking in alcohol and other delights has no real appeal for me. I don’t know. Maybe I’m jaded. Maybe I need to get over myself?
I try to rationalize it by saying that instead of celebrating pride one day of the year, or weekend, I’ll celebrate it every day. I make no qualms about who I am, what I am, or where I’ve been. I’m open and honest if people ask me questions about my orientation. I have no problem introducing people to the person I am with as my partner, boyfriend, et cetera. In fact, I take great pride in that, if you will.
But as I sit here and wonder about whether or not I need to be out there supporting the parade, rather than just living my life, and being who I am on a daily basis, and feeling conflicted about the whole thing, there’s a sense of urgency to be with the community.
But what is the community anymore?
When I first moved to the Emerald City, there was definitely a gay district. Capitol Hill, Broadway, with all of its splendor had no less than five shops that catered to a specifically homosexual clientele. Over time, and as the years marched on, those shops gave way to a generic neighborhood found in any city, USA. Still known as the gay district, gay bars pop up every now and then, and last for a few years, but it doesn’t seem to have that same sense of taboo that it once did.
We’ve come a long way. The other day I heard on the radio an advertisement on the radio stating that to “kick off pride weekend, celebrate with us!” Wow. That’s progress, my friends. Ten years ago, that would have never happened.
With the recent passing of DOMA and the Prop 8 decision, I felt something inside of myself that reminded me while I sit at home, typing on a computer, there are very real people out there with very real struggles. I felt something that made me feel grateful to be who I am, to be what I am, and to know that even though we have a long way to go, we have won a very important victory.
Ten years ago, the idea of getting married was a far-fetched notion. Something that I thought would only come to pass if I was in my 50’s, and no one would want me anyhow. (Gay death is 35, by the way) But now, I see couples I’ve known, couples I haven’t known, the images on websites like the Huffington Post, Seattle Times, et cetera, of these people who are celebrating themselves and the person they love, and I sit and recognize that I want that too.
That desire to feel something, for someone, and to be desired by someone…that need to express my love because, damn it, we can. It’s been a long, arduous journey, and we’re nowhere near the end.
This post is all sorts of jumbled, so thank you if you’ve made it to this point. It’s actually helped me realize that while the crowds may be overwhelming. the alcohol maybe be overdone, the parades may lack a certain choreography (that I could totally help with), that I do have something to feel proud of, and that this is a celebration that I should attend.
This feeling of conflict that I feel when someone asks me if I’m going to Pride will be something I deal with next year, but mostly for superficial reasons. I don’t care for the crowds, and I don’t care for the heat. But I am absolutely 100% proud of myself and my fellow brothers and sisters who have fought long and hard to achieve what we have achieve, to simply be who we are, and to continue to march on.