Every June, rainbow flags begin to ruffle in the wind in honor of the stonewall riots in New York, 1969. It's a time to honor the impact that LGBT people have in our world and the fight for equal rights. In May 2010, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month and entreated "all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists."
Of course, along with Pride Season come cries of hate, water cooler jokes about, "heterosexual pride" and an overall reminder that we have not yet reached total acceptance and equality. Little by little, though, we are making progress and that's what Pride month is all about.
But I wonder how different the world would be if gay pride wasn't necessary. I'm not trying to diminish the significance of the Stonewall Riots and the difficulties that LGBT individuals have faced, and continue to face, in the struggle for acceptance. The point I'm driving at is, what if there were no labels and we just celebrated our humanity? Below is an acrostic poem that explores what that would look like.
P — People with Purpose. Imagine a world where we valued each other for our accomplishments and our personalities — and nothing else. There would be no need to separate the gay from the straight, the black from the white, the über smart from the average Joe. We all have a unique purpose in this world and we should be proud of carrying it out no matter who we are.
R — Rich Diversity. One of the greatest joys of LGBT Pride celebrations is observing the rich diversity of the community: drag queens, leather daddies, dykes on bikes, twinks, normal gays, lipstick lesbians — you name it, we celebrate it. Our world is a melting pot of rich diversity, but so is the rest of the world. We just decided to celebrate our uniqueness first.
I — Insightful Inspiration. While many LGBT people have gone down in the fight for equality, we are proud to remember them during this month. But our reverence for our fallen heroes is no different from our respect for war heroes, Pulitzer Prize winners or Oscar nominees. All of them are amazing people who deserve our respect and our reverence.
D — Daring Determination. There's never been a social movement that didn't require daring determination. Whether it's standing up to discrimination, or finding a cure for any number of diseases, daring determination reigns supreme. Behind every great cause, person and achievement, there is a drive to succeed and to overcome complacency. Would we have electricity with daring determination? Would we have invented airplanes without daring determination? Would freedom ring without daring determination? Celebration of LGBT Pride is just one shining example of what happens when a movement is grounded in daring determination.
E — Eradicate exclusion. Humans want to be accepted, yet we tend to accept intolerance rather than fight against it. LGBT Pride is really about breaking down these barriers and loving everyone for who they really are.
As a proud gay man, I invite everyone to make each day a pride day, or a day when we celebrate all the colors of humanity, whether that is gay or straight, male or female, young or old, black or white.
Now excuse me, I'm going to go put on my rainbow hot pants for the pride parade. The trick will be getting my fat butt into them; if I manage to do that, boy will I feel some pride!
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