Today marks the first day of PRIDE MONTH 2020. It is weird to have no plans to go downtown, no plans to wrap myself in a flag with my children and grandchildren, no plans to kiss my wife in front of the protestors who always gather along the parade route.
Instead, I will will stay at home, safe from the virus that threatens so many of us. For me, and by extension for my wife, there is no taking a chance. My grandkids can’t hug me. My kids can’t drop by. Everything has to be planned, masks have to be worn, distance must be kept.
I will watch through the window as protesters march in solidarity of our black and brown brothers and sisters at a time when we should instead be chanting, “Love is Love” and laughing with one another, at a time when we instead are reeling from the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer and the abhorrent treatment of Christian Cooper. The hatred in the world right now is almost unbearable, yet we must bear witness and speak out and stand up. Our future depends on it.
This month is a time to remember another time of unrest, a time of rage and fervor caused by the Stonewall riots. These riots helped catapult the LGBTQ movement to a new level. A year later, the anniversary of these riots was marked by demonstrations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those early marches, a mix of pride and politics, drew only a few hundred people, but they led the way for the Pride Parades of today that often include hundreds of thousands of beautiful people coming together to celebrate life and love.
Remember when we had a real president? From 2009 through 2016, President Obama officially declared June as LGBT Pride month. Because of Stonewall, and because of so many other struggles and protests and pain through the years, today we can get married and legally adopt children in all 50 states.
This is what Pride Month is about. We may not be able to come together in the ways we have become accustomed to doing, but we can still let our voices be heard.
To celebrate the first day of Pride, I will take life one day at a time, send private messages, write posts on Facebook, send letters to senators, stay home when I can and wear a mask when I cannot, and reach out to those I love to offer words of strength and hope. It isn’t how I intended to spend Pride 2020, but it is our reality. I love you all, and I hope for each of you moments of joy and laughter as we fight for a more colorful tomorrow.
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