Dear friends- I want to share with you what I feel Pride is for me (yes these are my words):
Having lived through the time when I was beaten up in high school, pushed into lockers, thinking about suicide for being gay and different from everyone around me, and feeling as if I was going to have a tortuous future, Pride is having lived through all that. Pride is living after having my car windows shattered by marauders while I was inside giving my first boyfriend a kiss( on the lips). Pride is finding a career where I could live a healthy life knowing that my skills would keep me employed and my gayness would not get me beaten up and thrown in the river by a co-worker. Pride is having the courage to contribute to my community as my confidence and financial stability grew, so that others could benefit in a way that I did not, when young. Pride is knowing that I can hold a hand of a man, a boyfriend or a friend and walk down the same street where I was faced with straight men wielding bats 35 years ago. Pride is wearing my colors and saying hello, good morning, to everyone on the street and knowing that my words may brighten their day. Pride is creating tea dances, hikes, bar crawls, art creations, playing competitive sports with straight folks and knowing that I, and my friends, are truly valued side by side. Pride is knowing that life and culture and community are not just about how it serves me but how I can give to others and contribute to a functioning,, respectful society where we all mix with worth. Pride is surviving and knowing that my contributions and wisdom that I provide to younger people as I age, may very well save them from a misery that I once knew and experienced. Pride is offering my spirit and passion to my world where I have such value that I receive a thank you every day, I receive a smile on a face, where I dance with glee because I am wearing a silly outfit. Is there commercialism sure-! I order 25 pairs of rainbow-colored boot laces- one pair for me and 24 pairs to give to a young person who will react with awe when they see mine, and I can hand a pair to them as a treat. Pride is going into your community and saying to yourself- “I am free to love and you are free to love who- you- want!!” Pride is raising a rainbow flag and knowing that when the conservatives want to take my rights away, I have a whole community of friends as my arsenal who have my back and we will face the forces together! Make Pride a giving experience to others and you will never have to have doubts about your worth.
Have a delightful month, and year!
Michael is an organizer for several queer social groups in the North Shore.
The views expressed are the author's own. Unedited. The author owns the copyright.