This is the time of year we celebrate gay pride…Here are some thoughts on some memorable gay prides for me.
June 1985: First gay pride ever! Like the saying goes, there’s nothing like the first time. I remember telling my family I was going to the beach or Disneyland or something…for 2 days. This was when I was in the closet with them. I went with some friends that I had met at the L.A. Gay Center. It was like nothing I had experienced before. Thousands and thousands of gay people of all ages, races and sizes. Who knew there were so many of us? I certainly never thought so back in my bedroom in Monterey Park. We walked and walked the grounds many, many times that day, not to mention had fun dancing, and checking out the entertainers. One of my favorite memories I had was a hugging booth… where I was able to hug a hunk for $1. I went back there several times. Amazingly I was gone the whole day there… and came back the next day to see the parade too.
June 2001: The City of West Hollywood put on an event for all couples. So I went down there with my partner and we participated in a mass commitment ceremony. For us, it was the closest we had been to having a marriage ceremony for us. They gave us all champagne and wedding cake as well as a certificate for our “wedding.” I never thought that only a few years later that gay marriage would actually be legal in California. And no, we didn’t get married when we had the chance… but we are still together.
June 2005: My partner and I have a business we are promoting called PrideStyle. So this year, we had a booth selling our jewelry. The business came into being after my sister contacted us about wanting to reach out to the gay community with the jewelry she was making. So PrideStyle was born… we ran ads in Genre and Advocate… but ultimately what little success we had was short-lived. But being there in the booth was actually a little bit of fun for us despite the long days. I think we came away a little bit ahead that weekend.
What Pride meant to me back in 1985 and what it means to me today are 2 different things. I love pride season but am fine with missing the parade and festival… they no longer hold the appeal they once did for me. I live “Out and Proud” every day of my life now. I get to come home to the man I love and fall asleep holding him. I couldn’t ask for more. And I appreciate those who came before us and all that they did for the gay rights movement.