For me, it’s not about being proud, it’s about being myself. I grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s when gay people were considered sick, deviant and something to fear. To be out was to be cast out. There was something else going on during those turbulent times, there was an exciting underground swell of rebellion and awareness happening across the country, and it all led to Stonewall.
Like most gay people, I was raised by straight parents. We went to a standard brand church where homosexuals were doomed to hell and damnation. Looking back, I realize that all the people that were afraid of me didn’t know any better, after all, we were considered mentally ill by the APA up until Dec. 4th 1973 then on Dec. 5th 1973 we were magically “cured.”
LGBT people demanded and stood up for their civil rights and that’s something to celebrate. As we came out to our parents, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, they began to see us not as monsters that preyed on children, but as “normal” people. Of course—and speaking for myself—this took some time. The closet is for coat hangers. Kick the hinges off the doors, storm out, and bring with you your own authenticity and make the world better by being you.
My sexual orientation is gay, but now, it’s like being left handed. One day we will move beyond labels, when we realize we’re all the same but different.