My friend P wished me “Happy Pride” as we walked out of yoga class this morning, tossing about the usual Saturday morning banter around work and life and weekend festivities. He was on his way into Boston to the Pride parade.
It occurred to me, as I thought about Pride parades I’ve attended over the years, that this is the best holiday because it really isn’t one; rather a celebration of the beginning of a month dedicated to being purely oneself.
Throughout my life, most of my favourite people have been gay. Or actors or musicians or writers or poets or artists or philosophers or yogis. Each of us, carrying a bit of Muse in our bones, recognising a shared little freak flag flying high and free with a kind of inherent hubris in being non-sheep; tucking away the simultaneous feeling of despair at not entirely fitting in because we live in a world of labels. And, like fashion, if you’re not wearing the right brand, you stand out like a sore thumb.
I’m proud of my friends. I’ve seen how this label, gay, has made them stronger, bolder, more honest, thoroughly brave, and the most spectacular versions of themselves they could ever be. And I’m humbled: I’ve seen this fabulousness come as a result of the crushing pain of not fitting in, even in their own family, church, city or country…necessitating them to endure the bureaucratic, familial, sociopolitical, homophobic, ideological bullshit all their lives — just to be themselves.
Pride honors the importance of Stonewall, and in that remembering, underscores the importance of equality and tolerance and acceptance and humanity in our everyday lives.
I’m straight and find a comfort and openness and camaraderie and acceptance like no other with my gay friends. I mean, with whom else can I talk alternately (and equally) about sex, men, work, and ancient philosophy over breakfast?
I’m straight, but I wish we didn’t relegate Pride to just one month. I like the concept of Pride because beyond its primary goal of celebrating LGBTQ rights and equality, it’s about sharing each other’s freak flags. It’s about embracing differences and shining light on our own silliness. It’s about screaming at the top of our lungs that we’re all a little queer*, and that it’s just fine that we’re not perfect. Or maybe it’s that we’re all perfect in our own imperfections.
Regardless, Happy Pride. Today, this month, and always. ☮️💖🕉️🌈🏳🌈
*Queer originally meant odd, or unusual, and was later coopted to be a disparaging term for gay.