HAPPY PRIDE EVERYONE! It’s that special time of year if you’re queer. A truly joyous time filled with love and celebration. This month also happens to be the anniversary of when I came out. I didn’t specifically plan to come out during Pride month but it honestly could not have worked out better. I mean, I get to celebrate my anniversary dancing in a sea of rainbows on the streets of the West Village.
Coming out is v complicated though. There are so many layers to it. I was already out to some people but not everyone yet. I kind of sprinkled it out over four years. A couple people here, a couple people there. Coming out shouldn’t be rushed, everyone should be allowed to go at their own pace. For me, it was a slow burn. I was cooking up a big ol’ gay stew in m’ crockpot. Although, two years in, this truth I wanted to tell was bubbling under the surface and threatening to overflow. I was itching to be out but I was still scared to tell even my closest friends. It was this push and pull. I so desperately wanted to be out so I didn’t have to be burdened by keeping this secret. But I didn’t feel ready to face the reality of how people might react. It was paralyzing. That is, until I got a lil’ push from my pal Al…cohol.
It was my senior year of college and a few of my friends were hosting a jungle-themed housewarming party. I love a good theme so I brought my A game and a six pack of Heineken. Two beers deep and you better believe ya girl was getting ready to spill those beans. And so, that night, the beans were spilled right there in the kitchen. As I stood there in my bikini t-shirt and straw hat, holding a Heiny and slurring my words ever so slightly, I came out to my dear friend Mariette. It felt wonderful to release another piece of this weight from my chest. The fact that I did it while wearing a bikini t-shirt, priceless. And of course, it meant so much that Mariette was so warm and supportive. Over the next year I continued to come out to more friends at school. Except on these occasions I was fortunately sober and unfortunately wearing normal clothing. It felt incredible to come out though, like I was gaining strength each time I did. I remember one spring night, I had my friend Asa over to my apartment and decided I wanted to tell him. So I gathered my thoughts, had this dramatic build up and finally said it. He was warm and supportive and not at all surprised. I apparently already told him at that same party. Ya gal was loose in the jungle. Blame it on the Heiny.
Coming out is a powerful experience. It didn’t matter if I was telling one friend or everyone I know, I was absolutely terrified. I am so grateful I was met with nothing but love each time. That is what New York Pride is to me, nothing but love. Overwhelming, overflowing love. There’s this electric connection in the crowd. We are all there to see each other and to be seen. To be loved. This weekend, I get to dance in a sea of rainbows on the streets of the West Village. I get to stand with my community as we celebrate and honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. I’ll laugh. I’ll cry. At times I might even look like someone tried to combine the comedy and tragedy masks. I can’t wait. HAPPY PRIDE!