This is not to say my quality of life hasn't improved dramatically since when I came out of the closet at age 17.
And in a sick, twisted kind of way, I loved it. I got used to being "The Gay" in my group of friends--the attention, the fact that I became the No. 1 source for all gay info and anything to do with the sexuality--and I, being a classic insecure teen, needy for attention, desirous for others to spoon-feed me self-confidence, loved it.
Then I went to my first SF Pride years ago and everything came crashing down. I went expecting to feel immediately absorbed by the LGBT peeps, I went expecting to meet the love of my life and boom! everything would be solved and I wouldn't have to look (or work) anymore at finding people.
That day I learned a very important, intrinsic reality to Gay Pride Weekend:
I am not the only gay in the village.
Needle In A Gaystack
I am nowhere NEAR the only gay.
I am nowhere NEAR the definition of homosexuality and in point of fact, I know squat-diddly-doo about a lot of things to do with the LGBTQQ2.5...Z#%1!! community. On top of that, I don't have a lot of gay friends--which, right there, will tell you I'm still struggling with my own identity and finding other people to identify with.
Point being, Pride happens but once a year and this last weekend I was struggling (as I have now done each year since my first visit) with either missing out on the fun, or facing the fact that I am a needle in a giant gaystack.
New Tactic: Go, But Still Expect To Get Lost
I still wanted to go. But, I was wary of feeling alone in the giant crowds of couples, trios and orgies. So, to counteract this, I decided to invite everyone I knew and on top of that invite myself along to everyone else I knew who was already going.
Here are the results:
|My mom became a Lesbian for me for Pride Weekend.|
In conclusion, if I were to write a lesson guide for myself at age 17, this is how it would go:
1. Don't go alone.
2. Don't go expecting to magically meet the love of your life. Do your straight friends expect to meet the love of their life every time they go clubbing? Yes? Ok. Well. That's their problem.
3. Do bring as many people as possible. Or at the very least, meet up with as many people as possible. That way you can get the group experience but also go solo if you're feeling up to it.
4. Do invite your parents to at least one parade--that way, you can feel extra special when the P-FLAG marchers go by.
5. Do walk around in your regular clothes. You'll stick out more if you don't wear rainbow.
6. Volunteer. At least try to give something back to the community because if you're looking to get a pity party you'd be better off preaching to a queer choir.
p.s. WOO UPDATE: I got Woo a rainbow tank top. I don't think Woo is ready to come out of the closet though. In fact, she hasn't even made it past the bed.