Pride. (Worcester)

Everyone had their rainbow tagging in June and then, 3 months later, Worcester celebrates pride. We like to be fashionably late. So what.

pride

noun

a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

the state or feeling of being proud.a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself:civic pride.something that causes a person or persons to be proud:His art collection was the pride of the family.

This morning, before the bounce, I asked everyone to raise their hand if they have ever been judged simply for just being who they are. While not everyone raised their hand, most did. Sad, right?

Going back as far as we can think in time, people have been afraid to be themselves, not because of their own minds, rather because of a society that says it’s wrong. When I first had a hunch that I might be gay (this isn’t even including my wardrobe selection in high school) , I did everything I could to ignore it or tell myself “it’s just a phase”. There was no way I was gay. I did what I thought everyone expected me to do, and that was get married to a safe man when I was 25 years old. What would people think of me if I said I was gay? Would I be disowned by my family? Would I be treated differently at work? Would my friends back away from me? Would all my female friends think I was hitting on them or had crushes on them? This is the reality, folks.

NO ONE should have to hide who they are. Whether it is your sexuality, gender, race, size, DON’T HIDE BEHIND IT. We have a come a long way, but there are still times that my wife and I have to think about how we are acting in public, and I think a lot of heterosexual couples take those freedoms for granted. It was this time of year that I met my wife Lisa, and immediately, all of those fears I mentioned above no longer mattered to me. If everyone abandoned me, that was OK, because I was no longer abandoning MYSELF. I figured out WHO I WAS, and I did what was right for me. We are now 8 years together, and 5 years married next week.

The only judgement we should be casting upon anyone is whether or not they treat others well. Let’s lift each other up more, and when you see something that doesn’t seem “normal” to you, don’t assume anything. I can tell you that living for almost 30 years as someone I was not was a very dark and scary time, and the only thing scarier than coming out and being true to myself, was lying to myself for another minute.

I am incredibly passionate about being a co-leader of November Project Worcester, and I feel incredibly FORTUNATE that we have this community of amazing humans. This movement is making this community BETTER and bringing people TOGETHER. Every single Wednesday morning my faith in humanity is restored because of each and every one of you . Thank you for helping Jim and I maintain a safe space where no one will ever be mistreated or not accepted.

And WOW. No offense, the group photo is generally a struggle and you all REALLY PULLED IT TOGETHER today. My heart is full.

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, crowd, shoes, outdoor and nature
“And if you are wearing black, white, or grey, you are the fluffy little clouds on either side…”

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