This weekend is Pride in Philadelphia. This year Pride is special because Philadelphia is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the picketing of Independence Hall in 1965. Gay rights groups gathered on July 4th of that year to demand legislation securing the rights of LGBTQ Americans. They would gather to protest on the steps of Independence Hall every year on that date for four years. 50 years later, the lives of LGBTQ people in this country have changed dramatically. From being able to legally marry in 37 states across the country to gender reassignment surgery being covered under the ACA and other forms of insurance, the landscape being navigated by LGBTQ people in this country is vastly different compared to the way it was in 1965.
This Sunday is also another kind of anniversary. Two years ago, a few months before Sugar Moms closed, Frankie took me there one night and asked me to be hers. It was one of the happiest moments I can remember. Since then, I have learned and grown so much as a person, just from knowing her and loving her. I feel so grateful every day to have her in my life. She is so brilliant and funny and genuine and sweet. I am so proud to be with her.
As far as Philly Pride is concerned… I have mixed feelings about it going back a ways. I have avoided going to Pride in the past. I’ve never been the sort of person who really wants to party in the streets, for one. And for another, for years I was pretty sure that I was fooling myself one way or another about who I was and what I wanted. So, not feeling a lot of pride myself, it was hard for me to join the throngs flooding the streets as anything other than a bystander. An ally. And even that never felt right.
Coming up on Pride this year, I feel an immense amount of relief at being who I am and how my life has shaped up after my coming out to my family (which was the Final Goddamn Frontier of Gayitude for me). I’m happier with myself. I’m more creative. I’m honestly… proud. I’m proud to be living my life out loud and out in the open. I’m proud of the things I have done and been exposed to that I never would have even tried before a few years ago.
I can finally say, after all this time, that I feel genuine pride for who I am as a person and where I am in my life. I am so grateful to the people in my life for being so loving and supportive of me. And to the people who came before me who tore a path through the world so that I could walk my path in relative ease and safety. I am so grateful. I am so proud.