Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm on the Right Track

This post will be super short because I'm exhausted, but so it goes.

I spent my Pride weekend not in the streets or in a parade, not getting arrested in Russia, not having lots of sex or dancing to Lady Gaga or writing political advocacy letters, though all of those things are well and good.

I spent my pride weekend surrounded by queer family. I spent it being honest with someone I care about. I took a queer friend to the hospital. I caught up with a queer friend I haven't seen in months. 

I've been in and seen Pride parades, festivals, and marches. I've written letters and worked on political campaigns. I've done queer public health advocacy and gotten trained in conducting HIV testing and counseling. I've attended gay and lesbian weddings and raised hell in doctor's offices. I've responded with open arms and an ear to strangers who sent me emails and facebook messages, looking for someone to talk to as they came out. I've created a Safe Zone program and put on programs on safe sex and safe bondage. I've conducted three research studies on LGBT issues, and I've spoken on panels and at queer conferences and to rooms full of people I've never met about some of the most intimate details of my personal life. I've danced in queer clubs and drank in queer bars around the world and visited Stonewall and the Castro. I've gone to PFLAG meetings and gotten queer scholarships and read queer theory and become a trans advocate. I have immersed myself completely and totally in queer culture throughout my life.

But the power and the pride and the love I have for this community comes not from most of those things, but from my queer family. Some of them are very close friends; others are acquaintances that I've taken a particular affinity to. I disagree with most all of them on one subject or another. Some I see only sporadically -- at a wedding or on a fluke. Some of them I haven't seen in years (much like many of my blood relatives), but I still think of them as family all the same. A handful of them would do anything for me, and probably every one of them would, at the least, buy me a beer. 

I'm blessed, so completely and utterly blessed, to have these people as a part of my life. If I could have them all in one place, at one moment, I'd have my own damn Pride party. But they're spread across the country (and possibly the world), celebrating Pride in their own ways and raising hell and being awesome.

I don't often get the chance to pay tribute and honor to the things they've done for me. The people who've been there when I was in the hospital, struggling through a breakup, morning the loss of a friend, or fighting with my family. The people who make weekends fun, who make sex fantastic, who know how to make me smile. I love ya'll. Happy Pride. I'm proud of the community we've built, the one we're a part of. I'm proud that I can be there for you, some more than others. I'm proud to share my life with you. I'm proud of the person you've helped me become. 

So maybe I didn't do anything big and crazy this weekend. Maybe I wasn't surrounded by thousands of my lgbt friends. But I did find love and support, I did give love and support, to my queer family, and for that, I think this weekend was definitely a wonderful Pride. 

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