When I was younger I used to love attending the Pride festivities. It helped me realized that I wasn’t the only one. Growing up in an extremely small town and going to an even smaller liberal arts college, being different you sometimes feel like an alien in human skin. Moving to Philly and attending Pride I saw that there were many more of us out there and I was accepted, scaly green skin and all.
As I have gotten older, I tend to not partake in Pride festivities. Not because I am not proud to be gay, I am. I am so proud to be gay I practice all the time. I don’t attend because mostly I feel that Pride itself is kind of like gay Mardi Gras. It feels like just an excuse to party and to search for the next hook up. Do we really need a day for that? Really, it’s just a typical Saturday night.
This year, because of the marriage equality vote I was hoping for something different. I was expecting it to be a once in a life time event. But, as my good friend David and I sat, after what we found to be a rather disappointing parade, throwing back a couple of drinks at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, I realized that this pride was different, but not for the reasons I was expecting.
First, I am so fucking proud to finally be living in a state the recognizes me as an equal citizen. I am so proud to know that one day I can marry the man I love. Which as a gay kid I fantasize about and even planned. (Oh, I was very detailed in my planning). I never thought that this particular fantasy could become a reality. I now commense the husband hunting.
Secondly and more importantly, I have pride in myself. I have finally accepted all of my scaly skin, all of it. I owe that largely to starting this blog. I have been HIV positive for slightly over five years and while I have friends who are positive, I continued to feel like the only one. The only one to have to feel rejected in my own community. The only one to feel a kick in the gut every time I tell a prospective partner that I am positive. The only one who feels like he has to lead a double life, telling some friends and not others because of fearing of their reaction. When I first tested positive I was told that group therapy might help. I never wanted to go to group therapy, therapy has never been my thing. This is my group therapy. I want to thank you for being there, for listening and for encouraging me. I don’t feel like the only one anymore.
This has been has been a once in a lifetime pride and I thank you (and Governor Cuomo) for that.