I participated in my first couple of Pride Parades in Orlando in the early 1990s, as part of the Orlando Front Runners, (it is good to see the group is still active.) It was a fun group. On Saturdays we ran, then went out to breakfast, a breakfast club with a running problem. One year the parade was being heckled by robed KKK members. One of the runners snatched the hood off of a klansman. I helped bail him out of jail. The charges were dropped when the POS declined to come to court as a witness. Not so brave with his hood off.
The running group was reaffirming. A place where I could be me, and not worry about being the strange one in the group. People who are out of the mainstream, need that safe place to let their guard down. It was a place I didn't need to try to fit in. I fit in.
The parades were a public affirmation, of identity, and of unity with others, showing ourselves and not being intimidated by the haters. They were an act of bravery in a sometimes hostile world.
Being out has not always been easy, I lost a good job, a job I really needed after being outed by a coworker to a nut case of a boss. I have been the target of a homophobic rants by men who thought I looked at them too long. I have had the occasional epitaph hurled at me. I have walked out of business that didn't want my business.
I didn't come out until my early 30's. I have lived life deep in the closet, deep in self hatred. I was an unpleasant person. Maybe it is doubling my age, maybe it is being comfortable in my own skin, but I am happier and I think more pleasant to be around as an out gay man.
Every person needs a place that they feel comfortable, being around people like themself. Every person needs to be comfortable in their own skin. We have to love ourselves, before we can truly love someone else.
Debra over at She Who Seeks, is doing a virtual pride parade this year. Will you join her?
I enjoyed this post. I may be smaller, and I may be at time on the fem side, but let me hear one person hurl a slur or homophobic insult at me or a friend....These heels and earrings will come off real quick, I'm old school, I'll knock this shit out of a person and ask questions later.ReplyDelete
I don't go to pride every year anymore, but I do enjoy them. Last year was a huge year. I attended not only Philly's, but New York World Pride in celebration of Stonewalls 50th. Ill never forget that. Mayor Pete and Chasten were at the Stonewall Inn having drinks!!!!!
I am not a fighter, but I would defend you.Delete
I already sent a pix to debra; I WAS THE FIRST!ReplyDelete
I feel more comfortable around my gay friends; I can be myself and I don't get threatened/nasty remarks/hatred as I do around str8 guys.
You are always fun and accepting.Delete
I think it hard, no matter how well intentioned, for non gay people to understand the affirmation that comes of knowing there are so many other gay people and to be able gather together en mass and just not have to have any concerns about what people might think. And its not that gays aren't judgemental of each other but it is not for reasons that they are gay.ReplyDelete
PS, you better stop staring at men. We don't want you injured. 😉
Or put on sunglasses, or use binoculars from the terrace.Delete
I didn't even think about coming out until I was 38, up until then I thought the right thing to do was hide it for everyone's sake. I totally understand the desire to be with a group of gay people. Last year I took part in pride week, including the parade. I had a good time and was excited about going this year. Unfortunately that won't be happening.ReplyDelete
I think we reach a point where we realize we can't love others, until we love ourselves. For this year, let's give science and nature a time, in time we will gather again. In the meantime, there is blogging.Delete
Great post! LGBTQ+ groups, organizations and Pride Parades continue to be important, safe places for people coming out of the closet and into the fullness of our lives! And thanks for the shout-out regarding my Virtual Pride Parade!ReplyDelete
Thank you for hosting, I am looking forward to the parade.Delete
I haven't come up with anything for Debra yet, but I MUST. My first Pride parade wasn't until San Diego 1994. It was so empowering. Went last year to Torremolinos Pride.ReplyDelete
Must be added fun in another language, I accidentally ended up in Amsterdam one year, with the boat parade on the canal outside my hotel room window.Delete
my first was washington DC 1993; what a blast!Delete
Same here. My first parades in Minneapolis were one of the most liberating experiences on my entire life.ReplyDelete
Then you met meDelete