On Fear And Pride

The rainbow flag being waved at the Gay Parade in Florainopolis.
The rainbow flag being waved at the Gay Parade in Florainopolis.

"We can get married now, so are we even marginalized anymore?"

That's a joke I made last year at Pride. I am white, middle-class woman who grew up on the East Coast and lives in New York City. Even as a lesbian, I think to call myself "marginalized" was always a stretch, but this weekend reminded me how much I have taken that for granted and how fucking lucky I am to have ever been able to do so.

On Saturday, at the same time that people attending Latin night at a gay club in Florida were being terrorized and murdered, I was at a bachelorette party in Brooklyn with some of the most wonderful people I've ever met, most of whom are not straight. We were celebrating a friend who is marrying another woman. As a couple, they are everything love is supposed to be. They make each other better versions of themselves and so authentically and thoroughly love one another, it's frankly kind of gross. At no point on Saturday, or anytime I've ever been out at a gay bar, or anywhere really, have I been scared that someone will kill me because I like girls.

Being queer is, of course, not a choice. Who would ever choose to sit their parents down and say "hey, this is who I'm having sex with and in the future I'm always going to have sex with this kind of person,"? That's what coming out is, for many of us, in its simplest terms. It's the most vulnerable situation many people will ever find themselves in, and it's a thing we expect anyone who's not cis-gendered and straight to do every single day.

Even though I didn't choose it, and even though I have never, ever felt more exposed, and even though I know I'll never actually be done coming out, I am so proud to be a part of this community, a community that most certainly includes straight allies, without whom I wouldn't feel as safe and accepted. I've felt like I was going to cry all day today, and there's solidarity in knowing my friends and family have too.

We should donate and we should demand change; real actual change in the form of gun control policy; and we should be sad, and angry, and disgusted that this happened. But then, eventually, we should go back to not being scared. Pride month is about celebrating who you love and who loves you. And my god, do we deserve that.