On June 26, 2015 I was working on the farm all day, out of radio reach. I came in from the field to 40 messages on my phone and NPR blaring in the greenhouse about Gay Marriage. I hadn't been the biggest proponent of Gay Marriage- feeling as I did (and do) that there were other, larger, survival issues at stake (for example, this is something that still exists). But in that moment I felt waves and waves of emotion that I have never felt before. I remember dumping dirt into seed trays and crying. I remember driving home and crying. I remember calling Tavi and crying. At that point my sweetheart was living 250 miles away, so I went to the one gay bar in town alone and got overwhelmed. I ended up in the upstairs bar across the courtyard, where the bartender gave me a free cocktail and a nod, and I watched couples, old and young, get married downstairs under a makeshift chuppah. That evening my friends and I celebrated and hugged and toasted and cried together. I felt a kind of teary elation that I didn't feel again until I got married this year.
The next day I visited my parents. As I pulled up I noticed that the yard flamingoes had been rearranged so they were kissing and I thought wow, everything really is different now! Tears welled up again and I went inside ready to be congratulated on my new rights. I said to my mom "I saw the flamingoes!" and she said "Oh yes! Did you hear? The man who invented them died! He and his wife wore matching clothes!"
Dry those tears, life goes on.
June is a funny month for me. I'm proud to be gay every day of the year. I identify as a lesbian, I'm married to a woman, these are things I love. It's also hard. And that makes June weird. It makes Pride (as in, the parades) weird. Because as proud as I am, I feel uncomfortable being surrounded by straight drunk people waving our flag and yelling "kiss! kiss!" (true story). Maybe the acceptance and co-opting of Pride is a sign of progress. Progress sometimes takes big missteps. Still- try to remember that this month is a celebration of survival for us, that being alive in our community is no small thing.
Here are some things to immerse yourself (straight friends and allies) in before you don your pride outfit and get sloshed on frozen margaritas on the sidewalk (and then maybe don't, and spend that liquor money on an LGBQT organization instead- my biased favorite is Howard Brown):
Paris is Burning (this one is harder to find, but just do it, especially if you enjoy Madonna or RuPaul's Drag Race)
I'll leave you with this poem, which I feel. I feel. I feel. But feel the tiniest bit less since June 26, 2015.