If someone asked me to describe my past weekend with one word, Love would be the word. Everywhere I looked Friday and Saturday I saw elements of Love and acceptance and I’m telling you, there is nothing sweeter to set your eyes upon.
Over the weekend, we were invited to attend the Columbus Pride events, by my sister’s best friend Margie and her partner, Maureen. Margie grew up down the street from us and for as long as I can remember, she has always been a member of my family. “How many years has this Pride festival and parade been going on?” I asked Margie. “A fairly long time…over twenty years.” She said.
Pride marches or parades are events which celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) culture and pride. Yesterday after I arrived home, my doll asked me, the same question. “Thirty-four years,” I said, after taking a peak via google. “Wow!” She replied, “I wish I had gone with you…” Smiling at my doll I replied, “You would have been bored after the parade.” Shrugging her shoulders she replied, “Probably”.
In any case, Friday night we arrived at the festival grounds where nationally recognized bands performed and vendors worked to sell their wares. As we drove Maureen pointed out, “Marsh-look at the buildings…” Lighting up Columbus downtown skyline were buildings featuring the rainbow colors of acceptance. “Wow, that’s so cool!” I said. “That’s about money…” She replied and then added, “There is a lot of corporate money to be made nowadays by supporting our community”.
When we arrived at the festival, after procuring some beverages, we walked over to where Margie and Maureen’s friends were located and were introduced. After a while, Ann Marie and I walked over to the bandstand to see what band was playing and do a little people watching. We saw people of all ages and genders there. Families laughing and playing with their children as the music played into the night. What’s more, everyone felt welcomed; included.
When we walked back over to where everyone was standing, I struck up a conversation with one woman and asked her, “How long have you known you were gay?” “My whole life…probably since I was five”. “Wow!” I said and then asked again, “If you don’t mind me asking, how did you know at five? I mean honestly, what the hell do we know at five?” “I don’t mind and that’s a good question. I knew I was different. When I looked at girls I felt different. Not bad but different than when I looked at boys. When I was older I tried dating men, so my parents wouldn’t know. But I was miserable. Finally, I came clean and fortunately for me, my parents have been very supportive. They may not care for my desires to be with another woman, but they love me and that’s what’s important.” Looking back at her I smiled and said, “I’m so happy for you”. She smiled back and said, “Thank you, happy pride!”