Pride Started With A Riot.

Pride is a time of joy, celebration, and being unapologetic in how you exist in today’s world. While Pride events take place all year round, let us not forget how we came to be as out and proud queer individuals who can – for the most part – celebrate in our fiercest heels, tightest tanks, and deliciously worn leather during the entire month of June. Pride is a time of remembrance and reflection as much as it is a party.

“Pride started with a riot.” This quote has been haunting me on Instagram and Twitter. Okay, fine. It’s probably just the internet doing what it does best and marketing to its target audience, but I feel a way about it. I’m now 32 years old and have had plenty of time to reflect on my journey as a gay, black man as I exist in the queer community. I think about the day I figured out I was gay. I reflect on all my relationships and how they’ve matured or stayed in my past as I’ve grown into my queerness. I think about how I was in my early twenties when it came to navigating new queer relationships. I think about what my interracial, gay marriage means to me and the message we want to send as a couple to our communities.

Every year I look out and around at the LGBTQIA+ community members and think if they’ve taken a shot or twerked in the name of any epic queer leaders. People like Marsha P. Johnson,  Sylvia Rivera, Harvey Milk, Alexya Salvador, Laverne Cox, or those who were peacefully enjoying themselves at the Stonewall Inn when the riots broke out in Summer of 1969.

My intention is not to make a blanket statement and imply that we as a community don’t take moments to remember these powerful individuals. I’m just curious if we know our history and reflect on them in our Pride celebrations. As mentioned above: Pride is a time of remembrance and reflection as much as it is a party.

With all of this in mind, I want to encourage all members of the LGBTQIA+ to continue educating family, friends, and allies.

I’m particularly triggered when people accuse myself or others of throwing our sexuality in their faces. “What do you mean throwing my sexuality in your face? By sharing my experience and by existing?” I usually find myself mildly entertained and suppressing the urge to raise an eyebrow or two when I get comments on the blog as they relate to fragile male egos or ignorance in general.  Please remember to be safe and respectful of everyone’s boundaries on topics of queer culture and what Pride means, but don’t ever let anyone diminish your existence. Internet trolls are going to troll, but give those who may require some time a chance at understanding. We get to choose our circles and family, you know?

I’ll leave you with some items to reflect on as our respective Pride celebrations approach:

  • Our trans brothers and sisters need our love, protection and support. ESPECIALLY TRANS WOMEN OF COLOR. In 2019 already, there have been six fatal attacks on trans women of color.Say their names:  Dana Martin (31), Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon (27), Claire Legato (21), Muhlaysia Booker (23), Michele “Tamika” Washington (40), and now only hours ago, Chynal Lindsey (26).
  • Racism and a lack of body positivity exists within the queer community still. “No fats, no fems, no Asians… White only, please… BBC (big black c**k) this way!” is what you will find on plenty Grindr profiles. Don’t be one of those queens online that fetishize myself or other based on who they are as people; only wanting them for that. We aren’t objects. We are human beings and most of us have been battling identity issues our entire lives. Do better and call your “friends” out politely when you catch them slipping.
  • Respect the pronoun. Please try to use peoples’ preferred pronouns. We are past the excuse of “It’s too hard to change now after all these years!” Try. Be a decent human being and have some manners.

Stand firm in who you are. What does Pride mean to you and what has your journey on the rainbow road been like? Pride is supposed to be fun, so have your fun, queens! Just remember to take time to reflect, check in, and support the community you love and are very much a part of.

J,

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Y E A R O N E .

It’s been one year since I posted Sparks on Gays in the Life – my first post for the blog. Where did the time go?! I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made, amazed at the unexpected lessons I’ve learned through each post, and stunned that people actually still read this little project of mine.

So much has happened in the past year, and it’s been a welcomed creative challenge to keep the ideas fresh and flowing. I appreciate all of you so much, and thank you for your time and attention. Your presence as an audience keeps me motivated, and the result has been the production of forty-seven posts on Gays in the Life to date; there are fifty-two weeks in a year. I hope all of my readers have been able to apply every message that’s been downloaded into each entry, grown with me (and S), and have learned a little more about our everyday lives as a pair of husbands.

Some highlights within the past year include: Reaching a number of communities with GITL, learning more about myself and my husband (through planning each entry), hitting almost two-hundred views in one day, collaborating with fellow bloggers, our first marriage anniversary, NATIONAL MARRIAGE EQUALITY, substantial growth professionally, getting our puppy, and yes… FINALLY starting my book.

Most of me still wonders how I actually managed keep up with the blog, a fairly busy life, and a number of hopeful side projects I have stored in my head; why can’t I just pick one thing and stick with it? I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every brainstorming session, editing hour, and growing the project with each week. I wholeheartedly believe that none of this would be possible without any of you. If you’ve read one, or all, of my post(s)… thank you. If you’ve shared any entry with a friend or your followers… thank you.  And if you’re currently reading this jumbled mess of thanks… THANK you.

Love,

J.