We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of “morality,” when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes, when entire states vote us into second-class status, when our employers fire us, when our landlords evict us, when our police harass us, when our neighbors and colleagues and fellow citizens openly insult and condemn and mock and berate and even beat and kill us—we continue to survive.
We're proud because pride is the opposite of shame—and despite what the Christian hate industry works so hard to make the world believe, there is nothing shameful about being gay.
We're proud because more and more, we are able to live our lives openly and joyfully without fear of losing our jobs, losing our housing, losing our families and losing our lives.
We're proud because we can overcome the self-loathing that society forces on us, and we can stop its destructive cycle by making intelligent choices involving sex and drugs and relationships.
We're proud because despite all we've been through, the world is starting to notice and respect us and emulate the often fabulous culture we've assembled from the common struggles and glorious diversity of our disparate lives.
We (and from this point on, I really mean "I" when I say "we") are proud because we have pumped the iron and pounded out the miles and pushed away the junk food with enough discipline that we were invited to dance shirtless on a float in this year's parade.
We're proud that we were able to dance, smile, wave and remember all the words to "If You Could Read My Mind" without stumbling or even remotely betraying the fear associated with doing all these things seven feet off the ground on a moving platform that stopped and started with alarming jerkiness for two hours.
We're proud that we were smart enough to realize we could see our reflections in some of the store windows we paraded by—which helped us remember that we weren't 25 anymore and we should never forget to hold in our stomachs.
We're proud because when the fat angry lesbians squirted us with their Super Soakers as we paraded by, we knew the water would just make our cargo shorts stretch out and hang a little bit lower on our hips. And we knew we hadn't eaten anything but a protein shake and a yogurt and a handful of strawberries all day, so our abs would look nice and ripped as they climbed higher and higher over our moist waistbands. And we got a little thrill out of that.
We're proud that when the parade wound past those two pockets of bible-thumpers with their hateful signs and bullhorn-amplified vulgarities, we remembered everything we had to be proud of, and we didn't do or say anything to undermine the joy of the day or give them the satisfaction of getting a reaction out of us.
We're proud that when we saw that hot straight co-worker in the crowd after the parade and he was wearing something that showed off his sexy little bod, we were able to scope him out with some practiced discretion while still engaging him in lively conversation.
We're proud because when that hunky blond with the tattoo around his belly button who's been ignoring us for four years finally smiled at us and said hi today, we knew he was a game player who would take our phone number and get our hopes up and then never call, so we were mature and level-headed and just kept walking by.
We're proud that we remembered to wear SPF 45 for our day in the sun, even though we obviously missed a few spots and now our splotchy sunburns make our torsos look like a map of the Caribbean.
We're proud that we were able to have fun at two post-parade parties but then have the presence of mind to come home at a decent hour and write in our blogs and get some sleep instead of standing around in a bar trying not to get jostled by drunken homos.
Quite simply, we're proud that we have so much to be proud of.