I hate the Pride parade and all the activities that go on during the weekend or month (or whatever it is now): the crowds, the traffic, the noise… but I am grateful that Pride exists, because without it, I would not be able to lead a relatively stable life. Yes, me, a cis-straight guy directly benefited from Pride.
Between the ages of 15-20 I identified as gay. There were a variety of reasons for this: I was a mixed up kid, sexuality was confusing to me, but mainly it was because I was being exploited and abused by an adult man, and it was easier to think I was gay than it was to face the terror and shame that I was being victimized. But really, thanks to the Gay Pride movement, the reasons don’t matter, I had the freedom to be gay.
See, if it hadn’t been for people who had risked, and lost, their lives fighting for the right to be accepted by society, free from oppression, I would not have had the privilege and, even luxury, to adopt that label. Even if I wasn’t accurate or correct, if I was just a confused and fucked up kid, by that time being gay wasn’t that big of a deal. In fact, it was easier to admit I was gay than admit I had a drug problem, smoking cock was better than smoking crack. If there had never been a Pride Day/March/Parade, I would not have been able to later openly admit that these things had happened and then sought help for them; the possibility of stigma and violence would have been too much to risk. If there was no Gay Community for me to hang around after I got clean and didn’t know where I fit in society – a community that accepted me as a weirdo, misfit, ex con, and gave me the room to explore who I am and who I want to fuck – I probably wouldn’t have stayed clean. If anyone knows anything about not being accepted by society the gays do. They’re like a church community, except better music, and more leather.
For the most part, I was never harmed or even inconvenienced for being gay. Yes, things aren’t perfect, and I have been treated less than pleasantly at times when I have shared this info with some people, but it is nowhere near as bad as it could be, and has been. I also understand that my relatively short term experience with it is nothing like what some people have had to deal with their whole lives.
So even though I can’t stand the crowds, the music, the gaiety (pun intended), I want to say thank you to the LGBTQ community for fighting for the right and opportunity for people to be able to date/fuck/marry whoever they want, which, inadvertently allowed a guy like me to be a tourist in your land for a few years. Just know when I’m at home judging you, it’s about your cheeriness, not whose genitals you touch. Hey, in 2016, who hasn’t licked a pussy and sucked a cock, right?