I came to Pride late in life. In fact, I kinda skipped it.
At 28, I came to peace with my sexuality later than most and jumped directly from straight domesticity into gay domesticity. By the time I was out, I wasn’t really young and hot enough for the full Pride revelry.
Soon after, having kids became my main focus and, related or not, I generally rolled my eyes at Pride — something I thought had become a pointless exhibition of fierceness. The history of political struggle and acceptance seemed lost amidst the superficiality of abs and drag queens. (I admit: I’m jealous of the abs.) I just kind of thought, I don’t think this is my celebration.
But this year is different after Orlando — a tragedy in which innocent people were gunned down while just trying to have some fun, together.
And I think I finally get Pride now.
The Stonewall riots in June of 1969 were the original fight for the right to party. Though drag queens, butch lesbians, and trannies played the role of Beastie Boys, all they wanted was the right to peacefully get together and have fun. It wasn’t about drugs, it wasn’t about sex, it wasn’t about preying on unsuspecting hetero tourists and turn them gay. It was about getting together with people who accepted and celebrated each other.
And what’s wrong with just having fun?
This year, I plan to take my kids a few blocks to watch some of the parade (or at least 30 minutes’ worth — they are little attention deficit-ed 4- and 3-year-olds, after all); and I look forward to appreciating the celebration of fierceness.
That said, I also fully anticipate a lot questions:
“Daddy? Why is that man almost naked and dancing?”
“Well, don’t you love naked dance parties after bath time?”
“It feels good to be free and dance. What’s wrong with that?”
“Daddy? Is that a man or a woman in that dress?”
“I’m not really sure. But look how much fun that person is having.”
“What is this parade for?”
“People who want to express themselves, wear fun clothes, and dance. Because it’s their right. They have the right to walk down the street without getting hurt, the right to love the person I want to love, the right to dress how I want to dress and celebrate with people without fear of being gay bashed. I’m Just. Having. Fun.”
“Ok, Dad. Fire down, there. Why can’t we all just have fun?”
Because Pride is about having fun. Doing the thing you want to do, and having fun. Being the person you want to be, and having fun. Dancing your dance, singing your song, wearing your thong, kissing your friend, and having fun.
Despite how many elements of Pride might turn people off (people who are insecure in their own sexuality, or repressed, or just hateful), all the people celebrating Pride are trying to do one thing: have fun. And who can argue with fun?
And before anybody gets “it’s immoral fun” on me, I’m not talking about drug abuse or promiscuity — things rampant in every population. I’m talking about loving yourself and loving your fellow man or woman. Love is moral. End of story.
So this year, I don’t plan on rolling my eyes at abs and drags.
I see, all the more, the importance of just having fun. My 4-year-old son loves to wear dresses — because it’s fun. My 3-year-old son loves to jump around naked slapping his own hiney — because it’s fun.
Gay people surround themselves with friends of like minds so they can feel safe and have fun. That’s all.
That’s pride: to do what you want to do, without fear. Period. So come as you are: gay, straight, trans, questioning, young, old. It’s about acceptance and celebration.
Come on. Be weak, be vulnerable, be outrageous, be weird. It’s all fun.
And that’s no small thing … to fight for your right to party.
Happy Pride.More On