By: Lex Jacobson
In my eight years identifying as a lesbian, I have been to Pride only once. I enjoyed myself, but there are numerous reasons that I never went back. My wife is older than I am and has been a lesbian for far longer. She had a huge LGTB community that she was involved in for years, and basically did the “gay thing” when she quite young. She took what she needed from the experiences, and for numerous reasons, has not really been involved with the community since we’ve known each other.
Part of the reason my wife lost ties with the LGTB community was because she was in a 6-year relationship with a woman who was stuck in the closet, and she had to live as this woman’s “roommate” for the duration of their relationship. She was not encouraged to celebrate her gayness and was generally warned against spending time with people who celebrated theirs. She has grown a lot and learned a lot from that relationship, and is ecstatic that she can finally be who she wants to be with me and with the friends around her now.
Devon has lived for many years without the support and camaraderie of a queer community. Partly as a result of this, I have never really sought one out for myself.
I don’t blame her for anything and realize that I could very well have become involved on my own, but we are blessed with supportive families and fabulous friends – and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this – it just never seemed that important to us.
But things are changing.
I have found a community online within which I finally feel as though I fit and I’ve been blessed with meeting a huge raft of LGTB folk. I think it has shown me what’s important to me, and I want to be involved in a similar community offline that gives me the same satisfaction. I know people march for freedom and acceptance and equal rights and I honestly feel ashamed that I have not been involved in that particular aspect. I’ve been spoiled by acceptance and the last thing I want is to seem disrespectful to the people who fought for me to have that very thing.
I told Devon that I wanted to attend Pride and the many events in the days prior. I was a bit surprised to hear from her that she’d love to go. I think both of us realize that our priorities are changing a bit, and that it is vital now more than ever to be surrounded by a community that loves us for who we are, and who allows us to love it back.
I want our kids to grow up with other kids who have alternative families. I want to walk down the street 9 months pregnant, holding my wife’s hand, and feel good about it. I want my friends and family to see that Devon and I starting a family is no different than them starting a family (it just involves more science). I want my children to be celebrated and loved and included. I want to celebrate the children of alternative families.
So bring on the floats and tighty-whities and dykes on bikes and drag queens. I will happily hold up my rainbow flag at the parade this year and relish in the celebration of all that I know is valuable to me and to my family. It’s time for me to give back.
To the LGTB community: I’m sorry I’ve been absent, and I hope you’ll have me back.