June is Pride month and that means a celebration of all things LGBTQ. Some of our Bella writers shared how they celebrate Pride, whether that means volunteering, watching the parade pass by, or tweeting up a storm.
Mary Griggs: I usually celebrate Pride by tableing for one of the organizations I volunteer with at the Pride festival and I sometimes even drive a car in the Pride parade. I think it is important to be visible at these events as it is still difficult and dangerous to be out in some places in the South.
Cade Haddock-Strong: The parade is my absolute favorite because I find it so incredibly uplifting. I usually get teary about every two minutes just seeing all the joy and watching people from all walks of life celebrate together.
Jaime Clevenger: Hands down the Pride I remember best happened fifteen years ago. I’d recently met this woman online and was already smitten. She was all I could think about–which was a problem because I’d just graduated from Vet School and my new job expected me to act like a doctor and treat patients when all I wanted to do was daydream about this amazing, sexy, smart femme that–Holy Hell?!–seemed to like me.After weeks of emailing, we agreed to meet up at Pride. I had to work so I told her I’d catch up with her and her friends at the Cherry Bar after the Dyke March. My parents’ house was on the way to the City so to save time, I decided to swing by their place, shower, change out of my scrubs, and catch dinner with them.
Now my parents weren’t super cool with the whole gay thing. I didn’t exactly come out by choice and for years there was a lot of crying and yelling on their part. Fortunately I’m stubborn so I kept telling them that I was happy the way I was, didn’t want to change, and still loved them very much. I guess some of that sunk in because when they asked me what my plans were after dinner and I told them I was going to Pride to meet up with some friends at a dance club, my mom’s response was: “I want to come! I love dancing.”
That was not what I’d expected. I scrambled and went for the truth: “Mom, this is Pride and I’m going to a gay dance club. The place is gonna be full of women. Lesbians. Lots of them. And I’m also kind of meeting someone there that I like.”
Then she says: “So why are you wearing those old jeans and a T-shirt? Gays love sequins. I have the perfect blouse you could borrow.”
No way was I wearing sequins but before I could stop her, my mom hurried off to her room to change. There I was, in the middle of the kitchen, totally flummoxed, when my dad gets up from the dinner table and announces that he doesn’t want to stay home if we’re all going dancing.
Now imagine this: One hour later, I’m in the back seat of my parents’ purple Cadillac driving over the Bay Bridge. Just as we pull into the City, I see that big pink triangle up on the hill. It’s still a gorgeous site that fills me with a bit of awe. How far we’ve come! Well, I knew in that moment that I was about to ruin my chances with that hot femme I’d been emailing by bringing my parents to our first real date, but I realized that I didn’t care.
Pride is about being out–and proudly so. It’s not about the parade or even the dance parties. Pride is a chance to celebrate our queerness openly with friends, partners, kids or total strangers. And Pride isn’t simply one weekend in San Francisco. It’s the whole darn month of June all over the country.
Fifteen years later, Pride is also the anniversary of the first time I danced with my wife. Turns out, she thought it was cool that I brought my parents.
Tracey Richardson: I celebrated Pride this month with my town’s first ever Pride Parade. When I moved here 28 years ago, we were a very long way from such a thing happening. This month’s inaugural parade was a roaring success, both in terms of participants & supporters. We’ve come a long way, baby & I couldn’t be more proud!
Lara Hayes: I’ve been to my share of Pride Parades, and I do enjoy them. Not the crowds necessarily, which are harder for me to handle now that I’m sober. And I do wish there were more gay spaces that didn’t involve drinking, but that’s a different post.