The Importance of Pride

Pride is a huge party. It’s flamboyant, glittery, loud, and boisterous. People wear extravagant outfits or sometimes barely anything. It’s so incredibly larger than life, super fun, and it probably makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Especially in the FM area.

And I totally get it – we’re loud and we’re proud, and it doesn’t always make a lot of sense. Why do we have to be so flamboyant? Can’t we just be normal and move on with our lives? Why do we get a special month/day/parade/etc?

Well, I’m here to tell you that Pride is more than just a celebration. It’s more than a big party with pounds of glitter.

Pride 2013

From Thursday to Sunday, every social outing I attend will be a safe space for me. It’s going to be awesome, because for a long weekend, I’ll get to be me. I’ll be able to wear a “love is love” shirt without getting weird looks. I’ll hold my girlfriend’s hand and not feel an ounce bit scared. We will finally feel like a “normal” couple, doing couple-y things without the fear of cat calls, rude comments, or drunk guys thinking they can “turn us straight”. But, most importantly, I’ll feel celebrated instead of tolerated.

When Pride is over, I’ll go back to automatically pulling my hand away from my girlfriend when I see people walk by (and silently wishing every single time that I was stronger and less afraid). When people ask about my relationship, I’ll be cautious to only ever say “partner” or “significant other” until I’m 100% certain that “girlfriend” won’t get me beat up or berated. I will be on high alert at the bar, making sure to say I have a boyfriend, because “I’m gay” tends to only make guys try harder.

But, for one weekend, I’ll be free to be myself – and that’s what Pride is all about. It’s not just glitter and drag queens (although those are amazing things I’m looking forward to as well). It’s a place where I can be me, and that’s something worth celebrating.

I’m really looking forward to it.

– contributed by Geneva Nemzek