Upstate SC Pride and Some Existential Reflection…?
This past weekend I headed down to SC to attend Pride with my fellow author friends, Eden Winters and Z Allora. These two are adorable and fun and never seem to meet a stranger. We marched, we shopped, we enjoyed the Greenville Gay Men’s Choir and some fun drag queens and kings. I couldn’t think of a better way spend my first kid-free day in a while. Honestly, kiddo would have loved going, but it was just too darn hot for his little fair skinned self. Check out some of the pics from the event:
Believe it or not, I don’t normally like to use this platform for anything remotely political, but I’m making an exception today. It’s not my intention to get anyone riled up or to start an argument, I just figure I ought to share my views on the subject on my blog.
Upon seeing some of my posts about Pride, someone asked me why I went to gay pride celebrations. This person was close to me, so I wanted to try and be informative and diplomatic, yet firm in my reasoning. I answered: I’m an LGBT ally and I go to support my friends, and the fight for everyone in the country to have equal rights. And because it’s fun. That seems like some pretty solid reasons that most people should be able to understand, if not get behind. There wasn’t much further discussion on the matter—anyone who knows me knows that I’m very outspoken with my views on gay rights and marriage equality, so me going to pride really shouldn’t come as a shock.
However, having a discussion about it made me really think about the state of things in our country, and really turn inward to find what it is that makes this particular issue burn so bright for me. If anyone from the general public were to ask me that question—why do you go to gay pride celebrations (assuming that I’m straight which, for the record, I am)?—I would have to answer their question with a question. Why don’t you?
I like to think that if I’d been alive and able-bodied during the civil rights movement, that I would have marched and protested along with all the other supporters of equal rights. I would have fought for women’s right to vote had I lived in the time of the suffragists, and the list goes on. It’s not a gay thing, it’s a human thing. It simultaneously hurts my heart and burns me up with rage when I see people being mistreated, devastated, and oppressed in a country that claims to be by the people, for the people. Only certain people?
Marriage equality is an issue that is especially important to me for a couple of reasons. The main one being I have so many LGBTQ friends whom I love with all my heart, and will fight on the front lines for them if need be. Another reason may be fairly obvious—I’m a romance writer. I believe in love. Love gives people hope. There should be no one in the world with enough power to tell another who they can love, or what love is right or wrong. So yes, I go to pride. I sign up for organizations, sign petitions, and spend my money for these causes. I march and rally and raise my voice because it’s important to me, and it should be important to everyone. Because who’s to say your cause won’t be the next thing that the government, or whoever, deems unlawful. It seems like women’s bodies are becoming the next battleground, and I may soon have to fight for my own rights. I have no doubt my friends will step up to fight with me. You get back what you put into the world.
Also guys, Pride is a blast. I never feel more comfortable than when I’m surrounded by people who just want to gather in a place where they can be free to be themselves.
I’ve also been asked in the past if it bothers me that the protesters are shouting at me because they think I’m gay. Sure, people waving signs and bibles and money(??) in my face shouting messages of hate bother me a lot. But certainly not because they think I’m gay. It bothers me because it happens!! I don’t care if they think I’m gay or straight. I care that they make a judgment that one is better than the other. I care that they feel the need to yell at me for walking down the street with a rainbow on my shirt. I’ll proudly stand with my friends and take whatever the hate-mongers dish out, not because I want to attain some kind of moral high ground, but because we are the same.
Final thought: I march for you, I march for me—I am you and you are me. We are the same. Love is love.