Reflections on Pride

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Perhaps this column should have come out before the Pride parade and festival, but sometimes it’s hard to be reflective while tackling PGN’s biggest issue of the year, both in size and importance.

Pride is the one time of year when the LGBT community takes time to make some noise, to remind the mainstream community that we are here, we’re not going anywhere and they really do know a queer or two.

It’s the one time of year when, regardless of who you are and what you do, you can be true to yourself. You don’t have to worry about acting “too gay” at work or letting it slip that your “roommate” is really your girlfriend.

You don’t need to worry that your family isn’t ready to accept your partner. You don’t have to defend your attractions — be they to men, women or both — and your romantic choices.

What you do have to do is own it. You owe it to yourself and your partners, friends and loved ones to be honest about your happiness, your attractions, your needs. As a community, we owe it to our forebears, those who have challenged homophobia and stood up for gay rights, we owe it to them to be honest about who we love and why. Without their struggle, we wouldn’t be able to march down Market Street as gay as we please, or even just holding another woman’s hand.

Without a doubt, this is the one time of year when it is a political act to be out. (OK, we can count National Coming Out Day too.)

But Pride is also about our diversity — and our strength. Because sexual orientation isn’t relegated to any particular race, class or socioeconomic background, members of the LGBT community cover the spectrum of races, classes and backgrounds. We’ve got “family” everywhere, and we need to remember that.

Having connections through various communities — not isolating ourselves — will only help us achieve equal rights.

Each June, the LGBT community has the opportunity to be more visible. We need to make sure we take that opportunity, both on a personal level and as a community. We need to be out and proud for ourselves and for our LGBT brothers and sisters — and for the generation who will inevitably follow us. We need to make sure their road is easier than ours, that their struggle is not as hard, that their truth is easier to speak.