my 2016 take on pride

I’m really glad I live in state and metro area where we celebrate diversity, specifically the LGBT variety this time of year. I’ve been celebrating it since I moved here in 2003. My first parade blew my mind. It was three months after moving from a town where faggot and dyke are still used as popular vernacular from homophobic poopheads. Not cool, you guys. 

It wasn’t until I’d lived here a few years and had met some friends that were like, “hey, you’re cool”, that made me realize I was cool the way I was and I could stop spending time on trying to convince myself I was something I wasn’t. (By the way, big thanks to the dudes out there who took me to dinner on our first dates, because I was hella broke and Chili’s was so delicious.)

A few years later involved a move to Minneapolis, a job in downtown Minneapolis where I worked with a real life gay dude, and I was finally like, “yeeeeeeah, I ain’t hiding anything anymore.” And ever since, I’ve been all WHAT? I GOT A WIFE. WHAT IS YOUR DEAL? 

It was a little defensive at first. Some people still aren’t sure about the whole gay thing. Maybe it’ll be like laser discs and go away one of these days. But then after a while, it finally just felt like me. And I’m proud of that. 

It took me a while and it needed to. I’m glad I can feel comfortable enough in my own skin to have pride in who I am. I wish that for everyone. I wish a lesbian from a small town in Missouri could have short hair, wear a tie to work in an office and not feel weird about taking her girlfriend to the movie theater without fear of being taunted or made fun of. I wish a gay man in a small town in Northern Minnesota didn’t have to hide who he was at work every day, but I’m so glad he works for my company now where he beams with pride every day that he can come to work and be his authentic self. I’m proud of those people because they have to work even harder to be true to themselves. 

The weeks leading up to Twin Cities Pride have been rough. 49 people were gunned down in a place they felt safe and free and able to not worry about who they wanted to dance with. That’s stripped so much feeling of safety for a huge amount of the gay community all over the world. It’s taken away some of our pride because it’s scared us. But it’s also given us more pride because we’ve come together and realized that we’re all together in this. 

Happy pride. I hope you can celebrate it in a way that makes you feel proud. I’m proud of you. Every single bit of you. 

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