Pride, You Made Me Proud.

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A warning, if you came here for my usual nonsense, this isn’t the post for you, but please click here for a post about fucked up children’s literature, or this one about how I am incapable of returning gifts.

Anyhooo…

Three of my friends (also teachers), and I are sponsors in a community organization which supports LGBTQ youth and allies.  Due to the tireless work of one of my fellow sponsors, we were lucky enough to take our kids to march, this weekend, in the Phoenix Pride Parade.

After several hours of staging, just as we were about to launch down the parade route, one of our girls turned to me, shoulders down, eyes huge, and said, “Ms. M, I’m scared,” and my heart stopped for a second.  I knew why she was scared.  She was scared because this meant thousands of people looking at her…because she was standing in front of them, declaring her true self at the ripe old age of fifteen…and because she knew, somewhere, we’d likely meet opposition that she wouldn’t know how to handle.  I squeezed her shoulder and told her that it was going to be fun, and prayed like hell that I was right.

What happened, was that for the next thirty minutes, our kids met nothing but cheers, high-fives, and applause from thousands of strangers, who took a little time out of their Sunday to sit on a curb in downtown Phoenix, and send them the biggest overwhelming cloud of love and acceptance imaginable.  A cloud which wrapped around all of them, stronger than any armor man has ever wrought.  Long before our mile was up, our girl, once so scared, had her shoulders thrown back and her head held high, and she was the definition of Pride.  My heart…it was, and still is, so terribly full.

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And, yes, at the end of the route, there were protesters holding terrible signs and screaming hateful things. Wisely, the organizers placed the huge speaker system right next to them to drown them out with Lady Gaga, but by then, our kids were impervious, and the demonstration warranted nothing more than the roll of their keen adolescent eyes, and for that I am grateful.

Love will always be so much more powerful than hate, and self-acceptance is greater than fear.  You did me proud today, Phoenix…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

42 thoughts on “Pride, You Made Me Proud.

  1. Reminds me of a friend I made working at the local (Rhode Island) rag called “Options of Rhode Island”. She was early 20s. She wasn’t sure she wanted to march in the parade, fearful of the protesters that might show up for the first ever Providence Pride Parade.

    It hit the local news on several channels. There she was, right in the front of the parade, carrying this placard that read, “RI’s first every Pride…” leading everyone through the streets to the end at the RI Capital West lawn. Proud as can be and high as a kite from the cheers that the parade received at the time.

    Years later, I ran into her… Continuing with that very same pride as an activist and a lobbyist for LGBT rights. She helped get many of the laws passed here in this state 20+ years ago. And she tells me that it was because of those cheers way back then during that first pride that helped her get to where she got to

  2. Doug in Oakland

    Things are certainly different now than they were when I was young. Progress is being made, thanks to the courage and dedication of folks such as yourself and those kids, who in turn, have the courage and dedication of those in the preceding decades (decades!) to thank for their own opportunities to show their courage and dedication. At some point in the (now foreseeable) future, none of this will be a big deal. Thank you for this post, I needed some good news today.

  3. Reminds me of my first pride. I was a spectator but I was in the Army and I was only about 23. Luckily it was in Austin, TX which is the most liberal city in the state.
    I was so scared that someone I knew would see me and I’d be outed. At the time it didn’t dawn on me that if they were there, that meant they were gay too. Or at least a supporter. It took me a while to ease in but by the end of the night I felt invincible in my little world.
    I hope your students are able to carry that same feeling of pride and self worth for a very very long time. And kudos to you for being a support system for them!

    • What makes me so happy, is that when I try and tell them what it was like for my Matthew, when we were in school, that they can’t even fathom it. It’s so crazy how fast the tides are turning. Still enough fight left for them to take up, though. I’m confident this next generation is ready for it. *hugs*, friend. Happy Pride!

  4. Wow I can’t wait for the day when no one gives a shit about anyone else’s sexual orientation, it’s worth no more remarks than hair color, and people don’t need to feel scared about who they are. But until these crazy fuckers chanting hate slogans grow up and start worrying about important things I guess that’s unlikely.

    Wow I guess I cursed a bit there. Lo siento.

  5. We can always hope that the haters will die out some day. I’m so glad your girl got the love first. It gave her the strength to deal with the hate. That’s how it should always be – LOVE FIRST. It’s such an incredible super power that’s transferrable. I hope that one day she will pass it on to someone who is unsure as well.

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