Pride reflected; pride refracted

My watch just vibrated, and I looked down to see that the Stonewall Inn just officially became a national monument, the first LGBT one of its kind in the United States. And I find myself very moved by that.

On Saturday my partner and I ran the Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run, a 5-mile race in Central Park. I fought back tears as the announcers asked us to think about Orlando and to run for those lost. As we waited in our starting coral together, my partner looked behind us and said, "Look at all the people." I turned around and there were hundreds of people, a sea of people. I looked later at the race statistics. Over 5000 people ran that race on Saturday.  It didn't matter that it was a so-called "gay race."  What mattered was a community of runners enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning, celebrating and remembering. I found myself very moved by that.

Yesterday, New York City's Pride Parade drew thousands of people and went on for nine hours. I don't attend parades, as I express my pride in other ways. That said, as I read the New York Times updates about the parade throughout the day, I felt full of gratitude that I had found a place to live and work that feels safe and accepting and even, dare I say, celebratory of who I am and how I live my life. And as I write this on the subway, riding to my home, I feel very moved by that.

Yesterday, I also saw many examples of what I assume were heterosexually identified people wearing rainbows, waving flags, standing in solidarity with friends or strangers, declaring their support, their comfort, with the celebrations of same-sex relationships and myriad gender expressions. At first I wondered about their intentions, about how the majority always loves to appropriate the margin, but upon further reflection and softening, again I felt gratitude and awe at how the world has changed.

Thirty years ago all I wanted was for people to stop thinking I was gay. I wanted to be "normal" and left alone. Now, some people have a better understanding of what it all means, that being different is not catastrophic or threatening. Others still see it as damning, disruptive, life-threatening, even unpatriotic given some current legislative agendas. Which means that the pride reflected yesterday somehow gets refracted within other contexts. And that refraction, that bending of humanity that leads to distortion and then to fear, constantly reminds me of my privilege and that others haven't had the same luxuries that I've had. Haven't had the support of family and friends, haven't found the warm embrace of a partner, haven't been able to move to a place where they feel safe or comforted or accepted. Haven't been able to step outside of their fear and feel fully actualized. Seen. Heard.