It’s Pride here in New York today.
Every year from certain quarters—online and in real life—I listen to gay men grouse about this annual celebration. I’ve written before about how they point at photos of drag queens and shirtless twinks with outrageous hair and complain, “Why should I be proud of that?”
Maybe you’re not proud of flamboyance. Be proud of this: be proud (if you can) that you live in a society in which you’re not arrested simply for showing up to a Pride parade, and that our fierce feminine brothers can express themselves freely without being arrested for ‘gay propaganda.’
Be proud you live in a country that allows gay demonstrations of all stripes, from the simple and unorganized to the vast and corporate sponsored—because there are many in which such a thing would be squelched and the participants incarcerated, if not killed.
Be proud you live in a country in which being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered or what-have-you is now legal. It wasn’t always.
If you live in a country or a state in which marriage equality has been established, be proud of that. If you don’t, be proud that year by year, state by state, the movement is coming your way.
Be proud that DOMA was defanged. Be proud that California is once again allowing same-sex marriages. In other words, even as you stay aware that there’s much left to do, be proud of the progress that we have made and that we will continue to make.
And maybe even most of all, be proud of the fact that in spite of setbacks, in spite of selfishness and fear and the irrational hate of others, we have made progress—and will continue to do so.
Be proud of yourself. No matter whom you love, you’re part of a rich and beautiful tapestry of humanity. And that is worth celebrating.