Cosmo Sez…Got Pride?

Well, it's that time of year again and I hope everyone out there is taking this time to celebrate what Pride means to him or her. What I've realized is that it's not just a celebration; it's also an opportunity for us to publicly demonstrate who we are rather than just what we are.

It's also our opportunity to shake some of those negative stereotypes that have been long obsolete and demonstrate that we are greater than the sum of those stereotypes. People are curious and watching us at these annual events that grow larger each year. Before recently moving to Nashville, I had lived in New York for about twelve years and, oddly enough, for being in one of the largest meccas where Pride is celebrated, I never attended a Pride parade. That is until 2004, in Manhattan, on a beautiful sunny spring day, I decided to attend.

It was amazing; it was camp, and it was an education. The Pride parade was something to see. I spent the day walking around, meeting people and I sensed a real community. It was a lot of fun. There were families in attendance and it seemed as though anyone, despite their orientation, could be there and not feel threatened in any way. I thought this, until I heard about all of the events that were taking place later in the evening. It was like every good feeling that I had experienced during the day was about to be overshadowed by darkness.

As the night progressed, I must have been approached and invited to twenty or thirty sex parties that were going on, non-stop, over the weekend. Not to mention the openly advertised sex club scenes that would be packed all weekend. Many people were doing drugs or looking for drugs. I thought, "Is this really the message of Pride that we want to share?" As I walked through Chelsea, the heart of the gay community, I noticed an ad that stood out. The ad featured a young gay male, sitting naked at the computer, viewing porn, with a crystal meth pipe in his hand. The ad read: WHERE'S THE PRIDE IN THIS?

This ad, put out by the gay community, for the gay community, encapsulated what I was starting to feel about the event that I had waited so long to attend. However, it was re-assuring to me to see that other people in the gay community were putting out a clear message to their own and that message was that they didn't believe that this was what pride was all about either.

I believe that Pride originated from a much more noble cause. I believe that, in the beginning, this cause was more about tolerance and acceptance rather than sex and drugs. It's a cause that unites and creates support for people that have not always found this support, not even from their own families.

I must say that after attending Nashville Pride last year, I noticed we are far ahead of the game in regards to the sense of community that we now have. I'm originally from here and I can't tell how proud I was to return home and see the progress that has taken place.

Kudos to the Nashville gay community! Let's continue celebrating our diversity, while being tolerant and accepting of others! This is our time to shine and just like the rainbow, love has many colors.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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