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My First PRIDE Parade

What PRIDE Means to Me.

By J. Delaney-HowePublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
My First PRIDE Parade
Photo by daniel james on Unsplash

(This piece is for the unofficial challenge in Queer Vocal Voices. The prompt is "What Does Pride Mean To You".)

I didn’t know what to expect at the first PRIDE parade I went to. The gay community where I live is…challenging for a lack of a better term. (I will save that story for another time.) Being just out of the closet, I had no idea what the point of the parade was. Until I did some research into why we have pride parades. That is when I learned of the Stonewall riots, and the first parade the year following the riots.

I was nervous on our way to the parade. It was me, my husband, my best friend, and my youngest, Elliott. We were meeting other friends there, and my brother came as well. (All straight people mind you.) It was a beautiful summer day. Blue skies, white puffy clouds, and it was warm.

When we got to the parade route, I was so anxious my hands were shaking. My thought process was I didn’t identify with so much of the gay culture. We parked, met our friends, then headed to the parade route.

What I saw was amazing. Bright, vibrant colors everywhere. Confetti falling like snowflakes in the winter. Bumping music from the park where the festival was. Couples holding hands out in the open. People kissing out in the open. Some people dressed in bright costumes. Other people with almost nothing on, especially the men. All things I wasn’t ready to do-but it was wonderful to see.

I saw people confident in who they are. I felt the love and sense of community. I was inspired by young people being out and open. It was a great experience for me. I think that is when I first felt some pride in who I am. The first time I longed to be proud of who I am

Pride to me, specifically LGBTQIA+ pride, means being your authentic self. Loving who you are. It means not hiding who you are based upon where you are. It means being seen and being heard. Standing up to inequality and prejudices regarding sexual identity. It means not being ashamed to hold hands and kiss in public. Pride means voting for candidates that are LGBTQIA+ allies. Local and state elections are so important. Pride means supporting and loving one another despite differences and labels in the community.

I am happy to report that these days I do have pride in who I am. When I see the community come together, like for a PRIDE parade, my heart swells. I even hold hands with and hug my husband in public. I no longer view myself as less than. I am most proud of my youngest, for living their truth and finding their authentic self. They are an inspiration for me.

Now I don’t use Wikipedia often, but their blurb on gay pride spoke to me.

LGBTQIA+ pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as a social group. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBTQIA+ rights movements. (Wikipedia)

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About the Creator

J. Delaney-Howe

Bipolar poet. Father. Grandfather. Husband. Gay man. I write poetry, prose, some fiction and a good bit about family. Thank you for stopping by.

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Comments (7)

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  • Rhyonis; a Realm, a Rift2 months ago

    I’m glad you’ve found your place and your Pride and have provided a space for your children to do the same! My first Pride event was certainly an interesting one, due to the people I was with, but there are such an important part of our community and the impact they’ve had on our history has truly revolutionized the community as a whole. Beautifully written and told!

  • Celia in Underland2 months ago

    Sadly I have never been to a Pride Parade not for not wanting to but I have a huge thing with crowds. I love the positivity of this piece and learning about ow much that first experience gave you was so heartening 🤍

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    I love the pride parade it’s a joyful celebrations 🥰Thanks for sharing your feelings on your first Pride parade. We community support our pride parade in our city.

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    Keep your authenticity 🌟 shining! I went to my first last May in Gothenburg Sweden and I have never met more beautiful people in one day...and late night. I was so happy with the diversity and of course had to get my photo with the Drag King and Queen of the parade. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • I am thrilled for you, J.! Blessings, peace, & Pride!

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    So happy that you found a place where you can be yourself. I think that’s all any of us want. Great article.

  • Oneg In The Arctic2 months ago

    I enjoyed reading this so much, you wrote a really great piece here

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