What is pride? A rocket that emulates the stars. —William Wordsworth
After a full day yesterday, we will be dragging the kids from bed in a few minutes, painting their nails, tossing something resembling food in their mouths, then heading downtown for the Cadillac Barbie Indiana Pride Parade. This is a regular thing for us. We’ve done it every year Kat and I have been together. More than any other event in town, this is the one we feel obligated to get up and attend.
Sure, the parade is always a lot of fun. The people involved go out of their way to make it fun. And for the moment, the biggest concern the kids have is, “will there be candy?” because, you know, in their minds that’s what parades are all about.
There are important reasons, though, for attending the Pride parade, even if the kids don’t understand just yet what those reasons are. I’m much happier taking the little ones to a parade rather than a protest, which is the only choice my parents had back in the 1960s. I can promise you there was no candy back then. While they may not understand now, one day they’ll look back and realize how important this time is both for us as a country and as a civilization.
Conservatives erupted with howls of hate when President Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month. The religious extremists among us screamed with fury. We’ve seen this kind of reaction before. They did the same thing with Civil Rights in the 60s and Women’s Rights in the 1920s. Every positive step forward we’ve made has been met with opposition by the same groups of people. They are unable to accept the natural progression and change that comes as we develop more fully as a civilization. They spew their hate and, if allowed to have their way, keep us thinking like Neanderthals.
With all the hate we’ve seen this year directed toward transgender people (the T in the LGBT acronym, in case you didn’t know), attending this year’s parade and supporting Pride is as important as ever. While the little ones may not even fully understand the concept of sexuality yet, it is important to know that there is no room for hate, no room for exception, no room for discrimination because of any difference, no matter what that difference might be.
Ideally, that should be enough, but I know some people that I’ve known since my own childhood are not yet convinced. So, here are a few reasons why Pride is justified:
- LGBT people are human. Just like anyone else, one’s sexuality does not take away their human card. Being human endows one with unalienable rights, not the least among those being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You know where that phrase originates. If we are not supporting human rights for everyone we are not supporting human rights at all. I will go even further in saying that any candidate, for any office that does not fully support human rights for everyone, without exception, cannot legitimately be a true representative of the people.
- Ignorance kills. Too many people who have grown up accepting who they are have been bullied, beaten, and even killed because of the ignorance of others. That such behavior continues is beyond shameful. The only way to stop these acts of hate and violence is to address the ignorance behind them. LGBT people are your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and all any of them want is love.
- For those who didn’t make it. When I was in high school, being out as being gay wasn’t cool. Everyone who now can stand proudly with their same gender spouse was firmly in the closet back then. While most made it out and are living beautiful lives, not everyone did. AIDS claimed the lives of a number of people who had been forced to stay in that closet during the 70s and early 80s. Even if help had been available, finding it in rural Oklahoma would have been impossible. As we think of those lost lives we must be committed to making sure that environment of fear never exists again.
- For those who did make it. I had to smile this week as I scrolled through my Facebook feed and saw a picture of one of my favorite high school friends standing with his husband next to the Democratic nominee for president. Again, we all grew up in an extremely closeted environment unwelcoming of anyone who was different. The number of friends from high school and college who are now out and either married or in happy long-term relationships is joyous. Even more are those who are out and choose for their own reasons to remain single. They are all incredible people who have struggled with acceptance and both social and legal limitations. They all deserve to be celebrated.
- Because love wins. If there is an ultimate lesson for the little ones to learn, it is this: love wins. Love, in all its glorious and fabulous forms, is not confining. Love does not tell you that you must behave one way or another. Love does not limit who you are or who you can become. Love accepts everyone. Love takes you to the top. Love conquers even the most vile and orange hate.
Everyone loves a parade and this one today will be louder, prouder, and more fabulous than any other to hit the streets of Indianapolis. We’re excited to attend and will be equally excited to post pictures in two or three days. But lest anyone think this a mere frivolity, be quite certain, this Pride is justified. Do not deny. We’ve told you why. No time to cry. We’re gonna fly.