Why I Took A Moment To Thank Those Who Came Before Me During Pride
"Finally" is the not-so secret word of the next month, as the Supreme Court of the United States finally ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the country.
Honestly, it's about damn time.
I was sick and tired of living in a world where my community was denied a fundamental right, one that's granted to those who are alive, American and probably want to get married some day.
On this historic day, we can't just sit here and cheer without looking back at all the people who got us to this point. We can't forget that while we finally reached this goal, not all of us "made it."
There are people who marked the path, laid down the ground work and poured the pavement. There are people who set up streetlights and crosswalks to keep us safe. There are people who put reflectors on the road to guide the way.
Not all of these people made it to see this day, but just the same, we should take a moment to remember and honor them.
In school, I attempted to avoid history courses at all costs. It didn't interest me because I was so consumed with moving forward to graduating that nothing behind me mattered.
"It's in the past, it doesn't affect me!" I would say.
I'll also add now that past me was not only young and naive, but also an ignorant buffoon. Don't worry; the recent, updated version is much more understanding and willing to take into consideration that there are different ways of thinking, being and living.
Over the years, I began to realize we are a product of past generations.
As we move forward and grow up, we are tasked with the responsibility of creating our own paths, independent of what road was paved before us.
I personally believe we shouldn't feel obligated to reintegrate the past in order to create a "better" future -- not if it means jeopardizing our morals and sanity. The only thing we should ever feel obligated to do is not to forget what they did.
What they did for me was help put things into perspective.
Ignoring your true identity only sets you back further in life and prevents you from growing.
Coming out, for me, wasn't as grueling a process as I thought it would be after dwelling for months on the sadder, more horrifyingly real narratives out there.
Kids are disowned and tossed from their homes, left to fend for themselves. While I'm not erasing these narratives, I just want to say not all stories end that way.
It does get better, but it doesn't always start from rock bottom.
If you're thinking of coming out, don't dwell on the narratives of individuals. Disregard their timelines, their methods and their precise words.
The whole point of coming out is to embrace your true, genuine self, without regard of the opinions and outlooks of others.
When the time comes, you'll know. There will come a point where you become so comfortable in who you truly are, it makes you realize it shouldn't be something to conceal.
Rather, it becomes something you want to celebrate.
Coming out is a process. It's one that takes time and courage and personal permission. But, once you're out, damn, does it feel amazing.
Even better, there will come a day when you'll be able to look back on June 26, 2015, and stand with pride.
You'll be able to stand for those before you who could not be here; you'll be able to stand for those who cannot, and you'll be able to stand because you freely can.
But, most importantly, you'll be able to stand for yourself.