Aside from brief work trips over the years and a period where I lived in New Jersey and commuted into the city, it’s been 12 years since I’ve actually lived in New York. A dozen years ago is also the last time I went to Pride.
Intellectually, I knew this year’s Pride parade was going to be markedly different from my last experience.
Unlike 12 years ago, I wasn’t single, childless and just looking to party. Now I had a spouse, I had children and I came to Pride to make a point.
After the historic vote on Friday, our team at the Family Equality Council decided to travel to New York to march alongside our families and celebrate their historic victory for marriage equality.
That was the reason our group came, but it kept nagging me that I, personally, wanted to make a point by marching. But what was it? I couldn’t celebrate marriage equality for my family yet. We live in Maryland.
When my kids inevitably asked me why Poppy had gone to New York City for the weekend, I wanted to tell them that I was doing something meaningful, something important, something just for them.
So what was the statement I wanted to make by being part of what surely would be one of the largest Pride parades in New York’s history?
Would I make a point by shouting: “We’re here, we’re queer, we’ve got families?
Although true, I don’t think that being an LBGT parent with kids is that novel anymore. After all, we know there are at least 1 million of us raising 2 million kids in our country today.
Should I yell: “We Won, You Lost, Now Get over it?”
I don’t think anyone there thought there was anything to be gained by jeering our opponents.
It occurred to me, she wasn’t there to make a point, she was just present in the moment. She was there, surrounded by her moms, other friends, and hundreds of thousands of people who were also present in the moment – just proud to be in one place where they could be celebrate their love, their friendships, their families, their community.
For years, the Pride movement, borne out of Stonewall, meant that were marching for something: marching for rights, marching for visibility, marching for justice, marching for HIV/AIDS awareness, transgender protections and in recent years, marching for marriage.
While there’s still much more work to done across the country on these issues, this past Sunday in New York, for once, we didn’t have to march FOR marriage.
The point of Pride could be just that – Pride.
Pride in myself. Pride in my family. Pride in my friends. Pride in my community.
Perhaps one day, when we’ve secured universal marriage equality, when we’ve won humane immigration reform, when we’ve guaranteed safe schools, when we’ve gained rights in adoption and foster care, when we’ve wiped out HIV, every Pride parade won’t need a point. The point will just be Pride.
Until that day, I can say I was proud to be in New York City for a brief shining moment in the sun, where we could take a breath and just be proud.
Steve Majors is Director of Communications for the Family Equality Council
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