Yesterday was supposed to be my first time at an LGBTQ Pride Parade/Festival. Hurricane Matthew came along and hijacked the calendar, though. Orlando Pride has been postponed to November. Last year I wasn’t ready to go to Pride, but this year I am. I haven’t gone to any others in the state and wanted Orlando to be my first. Especially after this heart-breaking summer and challenging fall.
The first time I was out in the ’80’s, I went to some pride type events (nothing like now.) They were fundraisers for HIV awareness and resources. I only went to a couple and barely remember any of what happened. They were nothing like what “Pride” has become since then. When talking to a friend about this, I mentioned it was important to me to walk in the parade. So, I signed up to walk with the HRC Orlando / Central Florida crew.
Now, I don’t want to write out the personal compare/contrast of who I am today as opposed to yesteryear. I am getting tired of hearing myself talk about the past ;). I will spare you all the Pride parade catharsis blah blah blah that seems to want to come so quickly to the keyboard through my fingertips. There is plenty of that going on in my mind and heart, and maybe I will share it at some point.
But not today.
Today, the biggest reason for walking in the parade next month will be a physical symbol saying how much I love our LGBTQ community. A statement of how proud I am of what has been accomplished in our history through today. I want to walk to visibly demonstrate how much I love and appreciate our inspired leaders/elders/passionate young ones/allies, family, and friends. Walking as one of a huge crowd of people may not seem like that big a deal to most, and that’s fine. I know what it means to me, and this year it means not just being free to be myself, but being free to publicly identify with and love my LGBTQ brothers and sisters as a strong/resilient/vibrant community.
Pride is about loving, laughing, affirming, lifting up the good, protecting against and defeating the bad, serving, enjoying and celebrating a beautiful and blessed LGBTQ people.
It’s a miracle we survived and found our way out of the closet. Pride is the time to celebrate personal freedom and the grand community we have emerged into.
Being free is good.