Pride with Purpose

Wed. June 7, 2017 12:00 AM
by Bill Pritchard

What about Pride? We've come far in the LGBT community! Although there is more to be done in the area of equality, we've got a lot to be proud of! Is that what pride celebrations are about? Or, is pride a reason to party for a weekend? Have you stopped to think what it is YOU want it to mean?

All over the world, the LGBT community produces the best parades. Each year, they seem to get bigger and better attended. The detail of the floats, the ornamentation of the outfits, and the celebrity Grand Marshall; they all seem to get better and better. Is a part of pride, or is there more?

Have we taken in to consideration all the battles fought and won and those even lost for our rights? Countless marches, sit-ins, protests, activists, law makers, and the brave women and men who spoke up. How about all the allies who joined the fight, because they couldn't sit by and do/be nothing. Brave people who were not willing to forget.

Don't get me wrong, I love a celebration! I just wonder if we sometimes forget the reason for it. On the other side, many have fought long and hard to make who we are a normal party of society. Just another event in our year. Seems to me that pride celebrations and LGBTQ characters on television, are now part of everyday life. But, that didn't happen overnight and I think there are fights still to be fought.

Personal Pride: The more I think about Pride, the more I realize it's a personal experience. By virtue of my work, I am somewhat involved in the parades, parties, and festivals. What pride is to me, will be very different than the young person, who's perhaps not participated in any of those yet. Do you remember your first gay pride parade? Mine was in my hometown of Seattle. I went with my then crush, Jon Chadwick. I don't know what I liked more, seeing all the people like me, or being with him. It was all so thrilling.

Yesterday, Today, and Forever : As many know, there was once a day, folks could not be themselves or celebrate the LGBT community. Thankfully those occurrences seem less. We can be proud of that! Yet, with the small moments of victory in the fight for equality, we must purpose ; or for some of us re purpose ourselves further. Women, the transgender community, and people of color struggle daily to have an equal footing in this world. It is 2017, how can this still be?

We must stand with. We must speak up. We must carry. We must listen. We must live, as if our lives depended on it. They do, you know! For every person who is marginalized, each of us is diminished a bit more. Today it's the young woman, transitioning from her former male body; tomorrow it is the elderly man who is pushed to the side because of his age.

Our pride must be in purposing ourselves for the betterment of those still under discrimination . Our pride should also be to remember those who have worked or are working on our behalf. For me, my parents are the greatest allies I know. They were fighting for the rights of their gay son, long before he was even born. I am beyond proud of that!

Who is that in your life? Perhaps we could celebrate pride, by reaching out to them with our gratitude.

That can be pride for all of us!