Pride 2011

What Pride means to me

By Karl Jennings

Pride is knowing the difference between what merely describes us and what defines us. We may be tall or short, fat or thin. We may be gay or straight or some mixture of both. We may identify ourselves as bisexual, transgender, queer, lesbian or we may even be asking ourselves which, if any, of these things describe what we feel inside. We may be bearish, or twinkish, or butch, or femme, but all of these things merely describe parts of who we are.

Far more important are the things we choose to define ourselves. Are we honest? Are we kind? Do we love our neighbors? Do we love ourselves? Are we catty? Gossipy? Quick to anger and hate? Do we try to define others by the things beyond their control? Or do we reserve our judgment for issues of choice, the things that define character? These are the things we can find pride in – the choices we make.

There is no pride or shame to be taken in things beyond our control. Pride comes from accepting those things not as limitations but as opportunities to choose how we will define ourselves. Gay Pride is not being proud we are gay, but being proud that we will not let others define us by our sexuality. It is showing society that we will not be defined, nor limited by accidents of birth. Gay Pride is not asking for special treatment, as if our orientation was a disability, but it is fighting for equal treatment under law for us and for all of society.

I’m a gay man, but to me that’s not an issue of pride. Pride comes from taking my experiences as a gay man and learning to be more compassionate, to love more freely, to seek to understand and be understood. Pride comes, or not, by the way I define myself through the choices I make. Everything else is just description.

By Ann Clark

For me it starts out three months prior to Pride and lasts a little after it is over with, as I am a regular lead volunteer for the parade every year.  Pride is a lot of work but the end result is so worth it.  It is bringing a community together for a big party and inviting allies in to support and join in on the fun.  I have watched Pride grow every year, the numbers keep going up and the fun keeps increasing.

I make sure to take in every bit of it, starting out with the Grand Marshal Reception which is always a great time, the marches, interfaith service, 5K, parade and festival.  I count on going from start to finish and getting no sleep the entire weekend, and loving every minute of it, then counting down the days until we get to do it all again.

By Danny Thomas

Pride is when I can be who I am and still be around 30,000 other people that can be themselves, and being gay is no big deal, we are all god’s children. To go out and have a great time in Salt Lake City walking down the street holding my husband’s hand and showing my love for him just fills my heart up completely. Seeing old friends and making new ones. It is one time a year when we all get together and say we are what we are and love who we want and we are no different the anyone else.

By David Hamilton

To not be labeled as a “hater,” I must first define the word “pride.” Dictionary.com defines pride as “a high opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority.”

Pride, to me, is not about self-importance, merit, superiority or dignity. It’s about rebelling against that mindset. There is nothing dignified about Pride. It’s an all-out in-your-face display of everything that religion, politics and “general society” is trying to eradicate. Once a year, mostly naked boys climb up on trailers, throw dignity out the window and dance like there’s no tomorrow. It’s the one day per year that we throw off the shackles of dignity and unleash the inner desire to be the people that the conservative types paint us to be even when we’re conforming to their standards.

Pride should be more about a community under constant attack from the surrounding communities coming together and living life. We shouldn’t have to plan this release of pent up suppression a year in advance and cram it all into one weekend. If we could start respecting and improving ourselves 365 days a year, we would go from just “existing” within the larger community, to being a major part of it.

Pride is a reminder that, while we are constantly under siege, we still have the guts to come together once a year and show our conservative neighbors that no matter how much they pummel us, we’re not going anywhere.  It’s about looking at the crowd and knowing that even after another 12 months of constant attacks, our numbers aren’t dwindling, they’re growing. It’s about knowing that the differences that separate us from those who seek to “fix” us, or just eradicate us all together, are what make us a community. It’s about strength.

So, while we may not conduct ourselves with dignity, we’re fighting for equality not superiority, we throw all of our merits back in the closet and our importance as a community is dwarfed by the fact that we only celebrate as a whole once a year, at least we can put our differences aside and come together as a whole for three days and throw one hell of a party. My Pride wish this year is that we can focus more on the other 362 days in the year and become the force that we’re capable of being.

By Gavin Hardy

Pride: A feeling of pleasure from one’s own achievements, or the achievements of those with whom one is associated.

To me, Pride is a synonym for fearless. Since I’ve been out, I have never been afraid to be who I am, regardless of the opinions of others.  Never backing down, adamant to let people know that I have an opinion that deserves to be heard because I am a human being regardless of my lifestyle. Never afraid to hold a lovers hand in public, or dance like no one is watching. Never afraid to stand up for a victim of bullying, or living life as if no one was judging me. I’m proud to be who I am, and I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. There’s a reason the word ‘Pride’ also means ‘a group of lions.’ As gay people, I feel like our prey is acceptance and we have never, nor will we ever give up the chase to feast upon the rewards of our hard work. Voltaire once said ‘We are rarely proud when we are alone,’ which is why we as a community need to raise our voices Pride weekend and collectively show the world how beautiful of a community we can be!

 

 

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