Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Pride!

Once in a while I'll hear somebody complain about gay pride parades. For example: "Whatever they do is their business - I just don't understand why they have to flaunt it in everybody's faces.  Why do they need a parade anyways?" Do I flaunt my sexuality?  I dunno, but I do find it interesting that you never hear people complain about straight people flaunting their hetero-ness all over the place.

Leo and I watched the film MILK tonight (not because it's pride week in Mpls, just happened to choose to watch it). Watching MILK again has left me thinking about my own experience as a queer person and what it all means. Of course there's no concrete answers, just a lot of thinking, but it's helpful nonetheless.  For me Pride week is sort of like Thanksgiving, except instead of thinking about all I'm thankful for I reflect on things such as community, leadership, diversity, and what it means to be queer in America. You know, little stuff like that.

Being queer in America is a daily challenge, or at least it is through my eyes. That's not to say that there aren't rewards that accompany the challenges. In the twelve years since I came out I have grown closer to becoming the person that I truly want to be, which is a very powerful thing to be able to say.  Coming out is an on-going process that never really ends. I often think about non-queer folks and the "privilege" that they have of living in a society where it is assumed you are straight unless you make some public declaration stating otherwise.

This year at the start of Pride week I find myself asking "If I could start all over and be straight, would I do it?", and I have to say absolutely not. I'm not saying this because I think there is anything wrong with being straight.  I say "no" because I feel like I am at a place in life where I am comfortable fully and publicly embracing my queerness.  All of the struggles, bullying, marginalization, hate, etc. that I have faced to this point has played a role in making me who I am right now, and I rather like who I am right now. I am PROUD to be this person, queer as God made me. A big ol' flouncy light-in-the-loafers fancy-schmancy queer man.

My hope for everyone reading this is that you have an opportunity this week to celebrate all of who you are. Make some time to be proud of the person you are right now in your journey to wherever it is that you are going.

Happy PRIDE to you.

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