Gay A Synonym For Happy, So Gay Pride 2022
The very first Pride I ever went to was ten years ago in London, albeit accidentally. I haven’t been to one since. I have celebrated every single Pride month in some way for twelve years-a year before I came out as pansexual.
I’ve never really been to Pride. As an extreme introvert with zero gay friends in Houston, I haven’t had anyone make me go or go with me. As soon as my life included people, straight but supportive people, who would happily accompany me to Pride, the pandemic hit, and Pride was canceled for two years; though, I put on my own Pride Parade, dressing up my six dogs in 2020.
The pandemic put stress on the seams of my life that I had been so desperately mending as they tore until I couldn’t do it anymore. I let every seam pop, and my life is just a jumble of fabric and thread at this point. Eventually, I’ll figure out how to sew it all back together, but I’m in the process of figuring out how I want the pieces to fit together because what was didn’t work.
Over the last two years, I have become more and more outspoken about being gay. I’ve never hidden this part of myself since coming out eleven years ago, but being in straight passing relationships made it a bit more complicated. And it is exhausting arguing with people over my own identity. Two years ago, I decided to stop letting exhaustion deter me from calling people on their heteronormativity. A conversation worth having for myself but also for every other queer person so maybe one day it no longer needs to be had. Six months ago, I came out as lesbian.
Gay, queer, lesbian. They’re all identities I happily wear.
Sometimes I feel like my life has been nothing but doing hard things. Thirty-one years of just getting by, biding my time until the next tragedy creeps in. In my early twenties, I chose to walk away from a cushy corporate life to pursue a career in doing the hard things. I spend my time learning and writing about this life and this world of inequity, violence, and struggle. As someone who has chosen to always have the hard conversations, to stand up for what I believe is right, to never stay quiet, to not accept what is as what can be, my career and beliefs, though rooted in kindness, has alienated everyone in my life who do not believe in working to create a better world. We do not have to hold the same opinions or beliefs, but my people cannot actively cultivate ignorance, hate, violence, or worse ambivalence. So, I am well acquainted with watching people walk away.
My life has been a series of doing hard things, but coming out was the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
As someone whose life revolves around gender and racial equity and human sexuality, as a gay someone, I am well acquainted with the fears my community has when they come out, when we live our lives in the open. I know the privilege I have as a straight passing woman. A 5'10" woman who can hold her own in a fight against a man. A white woman. An American woman. A cis woman. A woman with an education and the words to tell my story and defend my actions and understand the consequences of my choices. I choose to come out at every opportunity. I chose to get very gay tattoos in very visible places. I choose to put rainbows on everything. I choose to call myself gay and lesbian and queer. I choose to be loud and proud because so many people never had the chance. So many live in fear because they are who they are.
My community has fought for the rights we have. We have died to be where we are today. Yet three days ago, I listened to a fifteen year old girl talk about her parents refusing to acknowledge her sexuality because she’s not straight, maybe bi, maybe lesbian. The fact a fifteen year old feels comfortable enough to call herself gay is such an amazing win, but the fight is not over. Especially if we look at what is playing out in the highest court of this nation and the repercussions of the decision and overturning of Roe v. Wade will have for women and my community.
Pride is a celebration. It’s a celebration of who we are. It’s a celebration I hold in my heart and life every fucking day because Pride isn’t a month, it is my life. It is the lives lost to violence and ignorance; the lives lost to hopelessness; the lives lost to a lack of health care; the lives lost fighting for equity. Pride is a remembrance of every person who has come before so that we can wear rainbows and dance in the street. Pride is honoring the pain that has led to joy and love and laughter. Pride is hope that the struggles and fights we continue to face will be alleviated for the queer people of tomorrow.
So yeah, I’ve made gay a huge part of my personality in the last two years. Because I’m fucking proud. I’m proud of my community. I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of who I am, and it has taken me thirty-one years of doing the hard things so that I could have this one easy thing.
I am gay. I am lesbian. I am here. I am loud. I am proud. I will be at Pride in Houston whether that is with my people or by myself. If you need people, I’ll be your people. Because I’m proud of you too. We’re not perfect, but gay is a synonym for happy, so here’s to a Gay Fucking Pride and celebrating exactly who we are because we are exceptional.
Originally published at https://onthebl.org on June 1, 2022.