Today marks the start of Columbus’ annual Pride Celebration. Every summer, “Pride” is a weekend of festivities bringing the Columbus community together to support our (freaking awesome!) gay community. A parade marches down High St, artists sell their wares in Goodale Park, and people throughout the city join together to say “FCKH8!”
This year’s event is even more important because just last week, on June 10th, 3 gay men were viciously attacked in our city. Each attack was separate from the others. One of the men, Chris Kratavil, was wearing a pink shirt when he was beaten. This sparked a movement in which people were encouraged to wear pink on Friday, June 14th, to show solidarity and support for equality for all of our brothers and sisters, no matter their sexual orientation. (Please see the end of this post for links to news stories)
Columbus Pride 2013’s theme is “Pride Changes Lives.” This theme honors those who have “attended Pride and marched in solidarity to improve funding for AIDS research, to end discriminatory practices like “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” to fight for Marriage Equality, and to raise awareness regarding countless other equity and social justice issues. More importantly, lives have been changed because these same individuals made the conscious decision to live openly and authentically nd chose to create a community celebration where all are supported and nurtured, regardless of where they are in life’s journey.” – Jay M. Poroda, Board President, Stonewall Columbus (2013 Pride Guide)
As I consider this theme and the meaning behind it, I cannot deny that Pride has changed my life in so many ways.
I give you:
25 Ways Pride has Changed My Life
- Made me more accepting and loving of others.
- Expanded my number of true & loyal friends sevenfold.
- Made me a stronger woman by being proud of who I am.
- Taught me to be more vocal about what I believe in my heart to be right.
- Strengthened my faith in God; I have really had to question how my love of gay people and my love of God can coincide.
- Strengthened my relationship with my Godfather Tim and his husband Ken. Because of their presence in my life, I have had many wonderful life experiences and know that I have 100%, constant support.
- Made me more fashionable!
- Helped me to smile more. Most of my favorite memories include a queer or 7.
- Made me a better teacher. My students know they can come to me to talk about LGBT issues and feel accepted and supported. They also know that I refuse to allow hate or ignorance in my classroom, whether it be because of a person’s skin color or who they choose to love.
- Expanded my “To-Read” list! Many of the books I want to read, I discovered because they have a gay author or a gay subject matter.
- Made me cooler! I don’t support Marriage Equality just because it’s cool, but it is!
- More solid in my beliefs of equality. I have had many wonderful discussions with people who are against Marriage Equality, and I have really had to know how I feel and why I feel the way I do, so that I can have a solid, supported argument.
- Slightly changed what I look for in a partner. I refuse to date someone who does not share my Equality beliefs.
Okay, so I didn’t make it to 25…crap, I didn’t even come close! Well, 13 is good too! I consider it a lucky number! But the moral of the story is this: When I take just a few minutes to really look at my life and consider what it would be without Pride, I am not really sure I like what comes into my mind. I am proud and blessed to be associated with a city that encourages people to live “openly and authentically,” whatever that means for each individual.
So this weekend, let’s go out, love on & support each other and let the world know that ain’t nobody got time for hate!
ps…don’t let this be just a PRide weekend thing…let’s do it everyday.
pps…check out Allie’s Pride post! It has PINK and Barbie and lovin’ on the gays!
Three Gay Men Report Attacks – Outlook Columbus
Columbus’ LGBT community mobilizes after anti-gay attacks – LGBTQ Nation
Seeing red over recent anti-gay attacks, Columbus wears pink – LGBTQ Nation