It’s the end of March May: you know what that means:

It’s about to be the beginning of Pride Month.

I have really mixed feelings about Pride Month, at times. There is a lot to celebrate, but there’s also a lot to do. There has also been a lot of change, in my lifetime alone.

That First Pride, and The Lead Up

When I was in middle school I definitely had a “first boyfriend”. We passed notes in class, and there was nothing more interesting than that. I don’t even recall if we kissed or not, to be honest.

Around the same time I was on AIM, ICQ, and so forth and I somehow managed to find other “Am I queer, not that I even have this word yet” teens. I had an online girlfriend for awhile, I thoughtlessly changed my AIM (and ICQ) profiles to say that I dated or liked girls (I don’t remember which). I say thoughtlessly because I was in rural New York State at the time.


My immediate friend group was less abusive, and more “you must not know what you just said, you’re so naive, LOL”. I just emptied my profile rather than deal with that. I had studies, after all, and how many of those conversations does a girl need in her life?

And that was public school. I also had a brief stint at a Catholic school, god help me. That was less about whatever my AIM profile did or, at that point, did not say, and more about what people “suspected” of my nature just by not being… whatever they were socializing their cishet daughters to be. Just a little off, I suppose.

I did have friends though, and relevantly to this story I had one friend that I’ll call… Katie, as a thorounghly descriptive, vague, white girl name. She was a grade above me, we chatted in the hallways often, it was great! And as much as my classmates would on occasion be a bit ridiculous about their suspicions (I did escape any of the more vicious forms of harassment that others endure), she seemed to not think of it at all, if she even heard anything about it. Double great.

And then there was that first pride, which was not only my personal first pride but also the first pride of that little, rural town. It was being held at one of the (many…) churches in aforementioned little, rural town. The church across the street (did I mention many?) held the counter protest.

Nothing “out of hand” happened. For the most part, they stayed on their side and we stayed on ours. They had their “Jesus Loves Sinners” and “Come Back to God” type signs and we had our “Love is Love” type signs. The few that did come over to our side weren’t belligerent, more seemed to view us as people with wounds that they wanted to heal. Not that that isn’t a mindset to deal with in and of itself, but that’s not the memory that I remember the most.

The memory I remember most is when I was walking away from my side, after the day was mostly over, with the friend I had come with to drive home. I saw the other friend I mentioned above, that I’m calling Katie, while I was walking away. I had put rainbow streamers in my ponytail. I waved at her. She did not wave back. She actually looked through me like I wasn’t even there. And that was that.

Pride Now

Now that I’m an Old Proper Grownup, sometimes I attend prides and sometimes I don’t. It’s interesting to reflect that in my foray into adulthood, the United States has equalized marriage to not just heteronormative people. I remember when there was debate about it in open spaces, not just grumblings, and when court cases were decided and laws were rolled out and repealed. And then one day, at least for that issue, that was that. Marriage equality.

I also remember other things like when I was in college, going for a walk with my girlfriend at the time and some 20-something white dude and his car of cohorts, more white dudes, screeched his car up to us to scream “DYKES” before speeding off. I remember a different girlfriend in college explaining to me about how we travel in packs when in public / visible places so that people don’t get harassed.

And now I go for walks solo during the day, and the most I get are cat calls.

So, the cat calls are an improvement, but you know. Also not.

The other thing that happened with pride in the now is that once companies realized they could make money off people and lobby against their rights (Hobby Lobby? Chick-fil-A?) it’s become a Whole Capitalist Adventure. So there are places that Rainbow It Up for exactly 30 days and then go back to their Regularly Scheduled Ambivalence (at best) after that.

I honestly wouldn’t care what “companies think” as companies aren’t really what is doing the thinking, it’s their human parts with decision making power. We as a country have given companies a lot of power, and as part of that they’ve gotten power to lobby about anti-LGBTQIA+ laws and culture. And while things May Have Gotten Better for people like me, who are white and cis and definitely pass the glance test for “hetero”, things are not going so well for the non-white, non-cis, and non-hetero passing members of society right now.

What I’d Like to See, Someday

I would like work to be work and people to be people. What I mean by that is that people who run companies should not be able to pool their wealth behind those companies to make decisions about humanity. Queerness, Blackness, any of it. There’s simply too much power there, and we haven’t grown enough as a species that we can rely on majorities of people to make good decisions. Whenever we’ve had major societal shifts toward uprooting white supremacy and other mindset infections it hasn’t happened from the majority thinking it was a great idea. Actually the majority normally acts terribly to outright violently. We need to find a solution so that pro-human decisions can be made without the majority of the population supporting it, without also laying the groundwork for increasingly radical groups to have a foothold to gain ground at the seemingly tireless, brutal, effort to eliminate Everyone Not Like Us.

I don’t have solutions for that, but it’s what I’d like to see. So that way people who are not “Het at a Glance”, or “Cis at a Glance”, or “hmmm are they White at a Glance” and so on don’t suffer for the decisions of the most violent and the most wealthy.

Cover Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash