i am listening to queercore music, wearing rainbows on my finger-and-toenails, and getting super excited to don my rainbow gear [flip flops, bow tie, shirt, hat..you name it, i’ve got ‘bows on it!]
it’s funny, because i used to associate rainbow stuff with “baby dykes” and newly-out gays. when i first came out of the closet, i wore and carried rainbow EVERYTHING. i always had something rainbow on me..it was like, i needed other gays [especially lesbians] to know i was also gay.
anyway. it’s pride week, and i want to write a bit about pride. specifically, MY pride.
i am almost embarrassed to admit, that up until very recently, i didn’t understand gay pride. i have been out of the closet for almost ten years now, and [again, i am almost embarrassed to admit] have always struggled with the guilt and shame that goes along with being raised in a patriarchal, conservative catholic home, and being gay. i was taught that gay was synonymous with “gross”, “wrong”, “sinful”, “disgusting”, and, most recently, “stupid” [i can’t believe people still use the phrase “that’s gay!”..seriously.]
i didn’t “get” it. why would someone be PROUD of being gay? i can hear my family’s voices echoing in my head, from a dozen years ago: “there’s no such thing as a STRAIGHT bar, or STRAIGHT pride..why GAY pride?” it didn’t make sense to me for a long time, either.
i have celebrated LGBT Pride since i came out of the closet. it is now one of my favorite holidays– a time when i can really be ME. i love being surrounded by gay people- we all come out of the woodwork in a big group, and i don’t have to worry whether or not someone will judge me for not being an anorexic/blonde/straight/barbie doll, or for holding my wife’s hand. i actually blend in [at least, more than i usually do] and i don’t feel like everyone’s judging me.
i realized years ago why we have gay bars. people say that there’s no such thing as a “straight bar”–but the truth is quite the opposite. EVERY bar that’s not a gay bar is automatically a straight bar. i am reminded of this every time my wife and i go to a new bar in the area and get stared at; every time i get passed up by the bartender for another girl with longer hair and more visible cleavage; and recently, the time my wife and i met my brothers at a bar downtown, and she got attacked and called a “dyke” by a girl who went to my high school. we got kicked out that night.
gay bars are very much necessary, because without them, we would feel neither safe nor comfortable.
gay pride is also necessary, for many of the same reasons.
but being proud of being gay didn’t make sense to me until now. i am proud to be gay not because i think being gay is “better” or “more special” in any way. i’m not trying to make a big statement or draw extra attention to myself. i am proud to be gay because it is part of who i am. and i am proud to be ME.
i am proud to be gay just as i am proud to be a woman. just as i am proud to be compassionate. just as i am proud to be a sister, a daughter, a wife, a friend.
LGBT pride isn’t just about celebrating gayness in the broad sense. it’s about celebrating OUR gayness. because it’s part of US, part of WHO WE ARE. and it’s something that i, we, all of us, have to fight for on a regular basis.
i am a lesbian, i am a woman, i am an american. i am so proud of all of these things. and i celebrate them all.
so this year, more than ever before [even in my freshly-out-of-the-closet days], i am doing it up. i am womyn, hear me roar- and i am finally, genuinely, 100% PROUD to strut my rainbow stuff!! happy pride, everyone!