Danzante Caldera, RPC

Who will not be at Pride

Danzante CalderaComment
Who is Missing at Pride_.png

Who Will Not Be At Pride?

The day I came of queer age I listened to Helen Reddy on stage singing “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”, just to me and, well, 2000 others:

I am strong
(Strong!)
I am invincible
(Invincible!)
I am w-o-m-a-n!”

I was at my first Pride ever, in Tampa, Florida, and it was 1985, and it was only Tampa’s 4th Pride ever. My friend Ed laughed at me because I was so empowered – but when I sang I am W-o-m-a-n I sang in sisterhood, and anyway, what I really meant was I am F-e-m-i-n-i-s-t. And I was Invincible in my queerness, too!

At that point we were not safe. I remember that there was only one gay man who was willing to have his name and face in the local paper, and he received death threats even as he founded our first ever Gay and Lesbian Hotline (for which I later volunteered, for a year or so…).

Every year thereafter we organized, watching our Pride numbers go up. Most of us could probably never have imagined we would watch our defiant but small community protest / parade turn into the sunny Civic event it is today.

I tell you this story so that I hope you can understand the depth of my gratitude and appreciation. I feel blessed to have been of my generation, to have been able to watch the vast changes – and to have survived our devastating losses, which I refer to as The Grieving Years - and still we thrive, and grow, and celebrate, over and over and over again. To bear witness to it all feels like a thing of great beauty...

And there have been many years along the way when I could not attend Pride. There were always good reasons, but in the end I have had my challenges, too… Which made me want to write a piece where I celebrated all those who will not be at Pride this year…

The world is full of LGBT people who will not be at Pride. These are our neighbors and our friends, members of the tribe for whom the journey lies elsewhere…

Many of our elders – a lot of whom paved the way for our freedom - and many other people who struggle with their bodies find that the whole physical experience of just getting there is too grueling, amidst the overwhelming crowds in the hot sun. They will not be at Pride…

And, in honor of a dear friend, there are a whole generation of men who have survived decades of chemical warfare against that damned virus, and who just don’t have the energy or the level of wellness currently. But they have survived, they are still here! And they, too, will not be at Pride…

Many people struggle with depression or anxiety, a too-frequent legacy of the trauma of homophobia.  I have had the honor of working with those who struggle in these ways and I understand how this weekend can carry too many social and emotional stressors. So, practicing self-care, they, also, will not be at Pride...

For many straight allies, Pride is a really cool way to practice their now-raised consciousness and have a great time doing it – and thank the Goddess for them! But for many of our tribe, this annual weekend presents something a little more challenging, even as we all wonder in love and gratitude at how the world has changed. 

So, before next weekend brings our annual, record-breaking crowds, I thought it right to take a quiet moment to remember an inclusive vision of everyone for whom we are celebrating…

Let us practice “a measureless ocean of love” for all of our tribe, wherever they are, as we celebrate. So many millions of us have already freed ourselves… And still: there is always more work to be done…

And there will always be a path forward...

And there is always more joy to be found…

And…

 

Who was not proud of his songs, but of the measureless ocean of

love within him, and freely pour'd it forth…”, Walt Whitman