*Forward: I’ve clearly taken my sweet time writing this post – but in light of today’s announcement that transgender individuals would not be allowed in the US military, I decided to finish it. Unfortunately, we have yet to reach a point where our voices aren’t continually needed. LGBTQ voices, and the voices of our allies, must be loud and clear on this matter and all matters pertaining to both our community as a whole and for any oppressed community.*
The feeling was exhilarating. Not in a jumping-out-of-a-plane kinda way, not like a roller coaster, or buying a house. But there we were – Stephen, myself, and his co-workers – walking down Fifth Avenue. We strolled along in hot late-June sun but boy, we were thrilled. We were walking in the NYC Pride Parade.
This year was the first time the parade has ever been televised. It may have been locally broadcast and not national, but it’s a start. In a world where our finely-crafted balance of society seems to be in retrograde, and our recent wins can be undone, Pride is so important. We are here, and we aren’t going anywhere. You can’t stop us, as we are everywhere. We will be heard, we will stand up for our rights (those we have and those we don’t), and we will speak for those who cannot.
I came out when I was 14, and the following year there was a County Commissioner who barred LGBTQ books from being ‘on display’ in a public library. Her rule came after LGBTQ-themed books were featured on a prominent table meant to highlight rotating categories/topics. My parents brought me to the march downtown and walked with me, which I thought was wonderful. I felt more connected to them – as they had participated in demonstrations in the early ’70s – and so thankful that I had a family that would support me in such a way. So many people didn’t – and don’t – have that support. The march in 2005 came full circle as I gazed up at the Flatiron Building in 2017, TV cameras dangling overhead capturing me and the thousands of others that day. And I remembered that the parade must go on, even though the road is long and winding, since there is a rainbow leading to the end.
// 5th Avenue and the Flatiron Building, 25 June 2017, NYC