PRIDE DAY: CELEBRATE THE PRESENT BUT DON’T FORGET THE PAST

I believe that sexual orientation is as old as Methuselah, and I also believe that same gender loving people cannot help whom they love. That’s just the way they were created by God. I believe God is a God of diversity, and I believe that same gender loving people are a part of God’s love and creation.

As Pride Day is being celebrated all across the country this month, I sometimes wonder whether everyone who attends Pride Day celebrations truly understands the struggle of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

Back in my day (the 1970s), I had plenty of gay friends when I was in college. In fact, one of my best friends was a drag queen who wormed her way into my life. The campus population was over 25,000 students. I am telling you, people got along. There was no such thing as relentless gay bashing and hate crimes on campus. Yes, there were a few ignorant people on campus who would name-call, but no one paid them any mind because they had no friends and were only seeking attention.

Mind you, those college students who were part of the gay community were not ostentatious and flamboyant. My gay and lesbian friends were intellectually brilliant and pretty as hell, had beautiful spirits, and we all had a great time. All of my life, I have attracted diversity, like a magnet. I believe that when you really truly get to know people, you are the richer for it.

During my college years, I was blessed and fortunate enough to meet an old lesbian couple who were in their 60s. Of course, they could not celebrate their love freely nor could they freely identify themselves as lesbians. Back in the day, some things had to stay in the closet, even the love between two beautiful ladies who were very nice to me.

I sometimes wonder if the younger generation understands the struggle, the sacrifice, and the hardships that the older gay sisters and brothers had to endure. And to those vain peacocks, I unapologetically say, “You are where you are in life because you are standing on the shoulders of many queens and kings who came long before you.”

As Pride Day is celebrated, please do not forget the unsung heroes and heroines who were part of the struggle in gay liberation.