I attended my first Pride parade...
...in Houston, Texas, in June of 2014. I went alone and in secret, and I “celebrated” by making out with this random woman in some bushes just off the parade route, behind a gas station-- not the gayest thing I've ever done.
I still wasn't "out” at the time, and the girl and her friends-- a colorful palette of Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts, and Qs-- took me in under their festive and very gay wings. We spent the rest of the day together, going to a diner, and chatting late into the evening.
I remember thinking, "So this is what it means to be gay." As if I had figured out the puzzle that had haunted my heart for most of my post-pubescent life. As if.
Seven years later, I have only recently begun to take pride in my sexuality and properly piece together that uncomfortable puzzle. Pride is an opportunity for us to celebrate who we are: what we’ve learned about ourselves and how that has shaped what we offer to the world today.
This year, Pride has felt a lot like a true holiday, complete with the rebranding and redecorating that accompanies Christmas and the deals and discount codes that scream “Black Friday!” I mean, have you seen the Target gay collection yet?
If I had to engender or sexualize companies, I never would have placed Target in the world of LGBTQQIAAP. Not that I don’t accept them for who they are, but they just aren’t like other gay companies that I know. 😏
I'm on the fence about big companies selling Pride merch-- have you read this Forbes article about rainbow-logo’ed companies supporting anti-gay politicians? While their hearts are most definitely in the wrong place (# capitalism), is it such a bad thing that rainbows litter the aisles of every store? No, probably not.
In fact, it’s a great thing. But contrary to what these bajillionaire profiteers want you to believe, celebrating Pride does not have to be a statement made with a rainbow suit, rainbow cookies, rainbow dog collars (yes, Cecil has one this year 🌈), and a rainbow ring around your FB profile pic.
Your pride is not defined by the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the art you consume, and the jobs, hobbies, and talents you offer to the world.
When it comes to who should celebrate Pride, and how he/she/they/it/xe celebrate(s), the short answers are “anyone” and “however they want.”
Queer or not, anyone can be proud; Pride is a celebration of us better identifying who we are now and sluffing off the residue of who we once were or who we once thought we were supposed to be.
How you celebrate is relative to and indicative of where you are in your own journey of self-discovery.
Whether you are in, around, or adjacent to the LGBTQQIAAP alphabet mafia, I hope you are spending this month celebrating. If you are, respond below and let me know what you’re celebrating and how. If you are looking for a safe space to talk, my inbox is always open.