Pride! :)

earlier this month, 
there was Pride.

Pride Parade, 
rainbows, glitter,
the whole shebang. 

sometimes, there's
an event that makes 
you feel as though
everything will 
turn out alright.

for me, that was Pride. 
for me, i got to shout
and cheer and find a way
to make myself okay. 
i get to celebrate who i am,
i can wear rainbows and 
i do not need to fear. 

one man wore a shirt saying,
and instead of dirty looks,
he got high-fives.
it's finding a way to be 
proud of something
that we are usually expected
to be ashamed of. 

this is Pride. 
whoever you are, 
transgender, genderqueer,
gay, lesbian, pansexual,
bisexual, asexual,
all of the -romantics out there. 
even if you're questioning, 
you are welcome here. 

you are welcome, because 
some days, the world 
is not kind to us. 
so, in return, we offer
an annual safe haven.

rainbow necklaces,
flags, boas. 
there were more
men wearing dresses
than there were women. 
high heels, bras,
society has no say in this. 
you can be free to wear
whatever the hell you want.

the police were there -
just to protect all of the 
Pride-goers, to make sure
nobody tries to rain on our Parade. 

(one man beside me kept flirting
with a policeman, and at the very end, 
the officer reached into his pocket,
pulled out a pen, and wrote his
phone number on the man's hand.)

glitter cannons?
sure, that's welcome. 
one policewoman was
photographed dancing
in the falling glitter
just before the Parade began. 

there's sports, companies, 
teachers, police, vets, 
buses, ambulances, 
HIV/AIDS activists. 
all sorts come to Pride. 

there's even government parties,
churches, synagogues, 
friends and family of LGTBQA+
all sorts come to Pride. 

i am a half-closeted introvert. 
i would be nervous out of my mind
to even attempt going alone. 
this was my first Pride. 
the only reason i was brave enough to go
was because my friend
(the Redhead Hurricane)
came and dragged me to it. 
i wanted to go - just not alone. 

she's straight. 
perfectly heterosexual. 
just an ally. 
but i'll be damned 
if she didn't cheer just as loudly
as all the queer folk around us. 
she waved rainbow flags with me,
and i felt more like i fit in 
than i have in a long while. 

...of course, 
not everyone is a supporter. 
on the outskirts of Pride, 
there were...

there were people 
trying to use religion 
as an excuse for hatred. 
there were plenty of 
religious figures in Pride, 
but these people wanted 
nothing more than to 
convince us that we were all 
just going to simmer in Hell. 

and, just as they made their second round, 
around thirty people yelled, simultaneously,
"PISS OFF." in retaliation to:

after that, i assume they went away. 
i don't know. i choose to believe
that if they want to dampen our Pride,
then they do not deserve my attention. 
this is one occasion where i can shout, 
and feel like i'm part of something bigger. 
and feel like the people around me 
accept me for my identity, whatever it may be. 

and, on the inside of a 
bathroom stall nearby,
a profound person 
wielding a sharpie
ran rampant. 

among the things 
that they scribbled,
i can share two with you:
"behind every exquisite thing,
there is something tragic
(a version of a quote from Oscar Wilde)
and another, simpler one:
"you will be okay."

that is Pride:
you will be okay, 
we are queer
we are here
and we get once a year
to tell ourselves that 
what we are is not bad.

we get once a year
to convince ourselves
that we are not broken.
we don't need to be fixed.
and this one annual event -
well, it's what keeps us alive. 
it's what lets us out of 
social constructs, expectations. 

this is Pride. 
this is support
for everyone out there. 
if you identify as LGTBQA+,
you're with us. 
(and if you're an ally
and prepared to cheer, 
you are welcome. 
we host no hatred.)

so i'll leave you with 
something that was 
yelled over and over:
happy Pride!

The End

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