I’ve been celebrating Pride since I was a child.
Growing up, I knew that I was different. My peers in school also knew this, and had no reservations about letting me know how effeminate I was. So each morning, after I ate my breakfast I made my best attempt to butch up to impress the other boys in school, which resulted in a one-man show that could have won a daytime Emmy. But as soon as the 2:30 p.m. mark hit, I was free to go home watch two episodes of Digimon and spend the remainder of the night being as flamboyant as I pleased. During the summer months, however, there was no stopping the pride parade that ran the through a small neighborhood in Indiana.
Those months are still the happiest days of my childhood as I forced everyone around me into a childish gay agenda. Sure, my older brother got tired of watching Bring It On, Clueless, Charlie’s Angels and Spice World. Sure, my neighbors got annoyed with the music blaring from the front porch as I rehearsed dance routines to “Geenie in a Bottle,” “Wannabe” and “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Sure, the neighborhood kids poked fun as I paraded in the backyard in my moms robe. But I was on vacation, and my parents quickly stopped anyone who tried to squander my happiness. For that I am forever grateful.
As I grew up, I never grew out of my desire to premiere my white boy dance moves when a pop song came on, but I got better at hiding it. My wardrobe transformed into the best attempt at mall goth that I could muster. I let my hair grow out as an attempt to hide behind the long curls. I stayed reserved and didn’t keep friends for longer than a few months. I even dated a few girls, but broke up with them when they tried to kiss me. I traded my summer freedom for a my own personal prison, filled with episodes of Lost and corndogs.
My only friends were the monsters that hid in the dark corners of my closet.
I eventually found a group of friends I related to, and through that I found the courage to inch out of the closet. It’s no surprise that my family was accepting. I mean, it wasn’t really a surprise.
My queer journey was finally on track, and I hit it like Jeff Gordon (or some other Nascar racer. I don’t follow sports.) I educated myself about my queer predecessors. I ditched the mall goth look. I cut my hair. I danced whenever I wanted, and refused to hand out apologies.
Now I sit here eight years later, planning out my first Colorado Pride weekend. The plan? Have fun, celebrate my queerness with a group of people that have come to be my Colorado family, and reminisce on the days that I celebrated on my own in a small neighborhood in Indiana. I’ll even eat a few corndogs.
I’m here. I’m queer. I’m going to party.