Pride obviously comes in many sparkly colors. However, everyone has their individual memories & meanings of Pride and everything that has become associated with it. I hope to bring you on pleather clad, dancing on a box, glitter-filled journey of what my pride experience has been.
What was your first pride event?
It wasn't an official pride event, however, it was the first time I felt a part of the community. The year was 2001-ish. Dell became the world’s largest PC maker. AOL announced that it had over 28 million members, AOL.com was the most popular website and Jeremy was invited to his first large-scale homosexual house party. Needless to say, I wore my favorite pair of army green cargo pants, an appropriately tight T-shirt, and flip-flops.
I remember arriving with my friend Zac and instantly being intimidated by everyone's confidence and individual fierceness. Slowly and surely after a few Mike's Hard Lemonades I eased into my groove and started to accept that this wasn't the normal Dodgeville High School event where I needed to remain cautious at all times in case someone might see me doing something gay. It was then that I let down my guard and people started to approach me and conversations, stories and free-spirited gayness began to flow.
It wasn't an official event, however, it was the first time I felt a part of The Community.
P.S. don't tell my mom, I forget where I told her I was that night.
What was your best Pride event?
The year was 2012. President Barack Obama was re-elected for his second term. Hope and optimism practically oozed from everyone's pores. All eyes were on the world's most iconic Queen as Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. And Jeremy was in his first pride parade.
In the 11ish years that have transpired since my favorite pride event and I discovered body glitter and put it to full use on many a dance floor. I also met my future husband. It was in June of 2012, that Don was invited to march in The Chicago Pride Parade as a member of ROTC Chicago (Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps Chicago.... as in the big city with lots of tall buildings on the large lake in the midwest.) I was invited to be the best water boi I could be.
The first group practice was in Lincon Park. Again, I remember being taken aback by everyone's confidence & fierce independence. Don joined the other gays to twirl his rifle and I set up my solo arboreal picnic nearby.
Not long after the rehearsal began I watched one potential member after another be asked to leave as their skills were not on par with what the corps expected. I can remember my panic set in as I sent every positive vibe I had to my husband to make sure he made the cut. Long story short, he did! The fates smile upon us that day and Don was invited to join the corps in the parade.
Fast forward a day or so, and we are at the start of the parade waiting in line for the corps' turn to go. So much noise. So much joyous chaos. SO many drag queens. So many sensible tops paired with comfortable cargo shorts. I can never forget the commotion before the main event. We are lined up, the music starts and the corps moves around a corner of a city block with a very tall building to the left, into the light, and toward a 3-mile-long WALL of cheering people. I remember turning the corner and being taken aback by the deafening cheers of literally millions of supporters.
I have never been so overcome by joy and support in my life. It began to sink in that I was a part of something extremely meaningful to so many people.
Lucky for you, I recorded my POV of the event and posted it on Youtube. Check out this link. Can you find Don in the corps in front of me?
What does pride mean to you?
Pride is a celebration of everything and everyone that makes you proud. Pride is diversity. A divergence from the beaten path. Pride is uniqueness. Pride is evenings at home with your chosen family watching RuPaul's Drag Race. It is celebrating
what got you here. Pride is being fiercely you. You are pride.
With all that glitters and shines I wish you a very happy pride!