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Pride is about love

A scene from Pride in the Park 2018. This year’s celebration will take place Saturday at Mathews Park in Norwalk. (Bob Welsh)

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The designation of June as LGBTQ+ Pride month sometimes seems like a misnomer to me. True, I know all too well how difficult it is for many in our community to feel proud of who they are. In an age when the U.S. President routinely attacks transgender military service members; when over 20 states still make it entirely legal to fire someone on the sole basis of his/her sexual orientation; when queer youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual youth, having one month to celebrate our humanity hardly seems sufficient.

And yet for me, LGBTQ+ Love seems to be a better name for it. My experience of Pride has always been as a celebration of love. Love of self, and parity for same-sex love—but also just love. Projecting love out into a world in which it is often sorely lacking.

That’s what’s most disappointing about some of the hateful reactions some people have to Pride Month. It’s not just that these people feel so strongly against the LGBTQ+ community, but that they have such little love for themselves. Whoever vandalized the banner for Fairfield County’s Pride in the Park this week is someone who needs to be loved. People who are full of love do not go around trying to steal others’ joy. Such acts of vandalism are born of a brokenness, an emptiness, a desperate need to feel loved.

This is what inspires me in my role as an openly gay public servant. Even when we disagree, it’s vital that we respect each other’s humanity. Anger begets anger. Hate begets hate. Love begets love.

So this Pride Month, let’s all find inspiration wherever we can to spread love into the world. On Saturday, at Fairfield County Pride in the Park, we will remember that first Pride, fifty years ago at Stonewall, and we will celebrate the amazing progress we have made towards LGBTQ+ equality, and the progress we have yet to make. And we will do so with love for every human being, no matter how you identify, and especially for those who need it so much that they choose to lash out.

 

With love,
Colin Hosten
The writer is an At-large Member of the Norwalk Common Council and a board member of the Triangle Community Center.

13 comments

Mike Mushak June 7, 2019 at 8:02 am

Well said, Colin.

I was bullied many times as a child for being “different”,
but my loving parents never made me feel ashamed or that it was in any way my fault. They made me feel special, and encouraged my artistic desires for instance when I chose not to play sports with the other neighborhood boys.

I will always be grateful to my parents for giving me the strength and confidence to grow into myself and be who I am, despite the taunts and pressures to conform to societal “norms”. Every child deserves that kind of unconditional love.

I have marched for gay rights every year since 1976, when I was 15 and took a bus to NYC with friends to march in my first gay pride march, 43 years ago. It was the early days of gay equality, and I grew up in the movement through all its triumphs and defeats including the AIDS epidemic when I lost most of my friends while I was still in my 20’s. Later in life, I fought hard for marriage equality in CT through years of fundraising and activism.

The best march was in 2015, when the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states just 3 days before the NYC Pride March.

That year, my husband David and I marched the entire route for miles down 5th Avenue into Greenwich Village, holding hands and singing and crying as millions of folks cheered along the route. It was literally the best day of my life. The White House and Empire State Building were lit up in rainbow colors, and we thought justice would prevail from that point forward.

Then Trump got elected on a platform of hatred, including the Republican platform promise to ban gay marriage across the country. Our joy was short-lived.

We must continue to fight for social justice and equality especially in this era when hatred and racism are promoted by our president, and by the entire Republican party through their official approved platform.

That’s right, to this day the official Republican Party position is to ban my marriage to my husband, in every state in the union, and there are still folks who wonder why I always support Democrats. Duh.

In the words of Harvey Milk, an openly gay elected official who was assassinated along with the mayor in San Francisco’s City Hall in 1978 by an anti-gay former colleague, “Hope will never be silent.”

See you at Norwalk’s Pride in the Park on Saturday, 12-8. All welcome, including straight folks and families, even Republicans despite their official national anti-gay platform!

John Levin June 7, 2019 at 10:17 am

Awesome, Colin. Thanks. Our nation, and its people, have come a long way. And we still have a ways to go.

Margaret K. Suib June 7, 2019 at 10:38 am

“I’ll paint the picture, let me set the scene
You know, the future’s in the hands of you and me
So let’s all get together, we can all be free
Spread love and understanding, positivity…

Love can change the world in a moment, but what do I know?
Love can change the world in a moment.” (Ed Sheeran)

If we could focus on the 99.99% that unites us all, that makes all humans one people, and appreciate our differences “… as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity” (MLK Jr) —

I’m with Colin, Ed Sheeran and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: love is the answer for us all.

Terry Kocian June 7, 2019 at 11:43 am

Colin, John, & Margaret, Sadly there will always be people who will not accept others because of their color, religion, sexual orientation and so on. That will never change. It makes us who we are. We live in a FREE country where we can express our opinions, are likes and dislikes and this will lead to arguing and fighting. Always has. While I’m not a hater, there is a lot I, let’s just say, “don’t get” about the gay communities all over the nation. Just what does Gay Pride mean to you? What are you proud of? Do you support any charitable organizations? Do you contribute to the cities where you live? Do you fund any children looking to get a college education? You have all of the rights that heterosexual people have. You can marry, adopt children, on and on. Why all the flag waving and marching about? We heterosexual people could design a flag, I suppose and march about on a particular day to celebrate our being who we are, but we would be beat down and criticized like crazy! Live your life, keep your private lives private and carry on. Stop the madness.

Bob June 7, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I knew we wouldn’t make it one post without a “Trump” reference.
Democrats’ obsession with him is hilarious!
Can’t wait until he wins again in 2020.

Matt T June 7, 2019 at 4:31 pm

Terry –

What don’t you get? The pride events are a way for self love and a validation of themselves. As a straight person, I don’t have to second guess myself as my orientation is what society has deemed normal. LGBTQ+ communities have an array of issues unique to their community like AIDS/HIV, alcoholism, youth suicide, homelessness, etc…. The community and pride events are a celebration to let people know, both out and yet to be out, that the doors are wide open and when you’re ready to come on in. While the parades and events are a celebration, many of the money raised from events surrounding pride go directly to causes that affect their community. For example, the AIDS life cycle fundraiser is going on now and it raises money for AIDS/HIV research and care. It coincides with pride.

Anyways, instead of being uneasy with the “other”, go to our local gay bar and make a friend. Being an ally is more fun than being unsettled.

Also, the point you made about having a heterosexual flag is like saying we should have white pride month, or what about Men’s history month. History and society is told through a straight, white, European context. These months and moments where we acknowledge the other is a chance to add to the narrative rather than keep the marginalized down.

Ken June 7, 2019 at 5:13 pm

Bob
The references to Trump are necessary as he breeds hatred. I want to thank you for the laugh about winning in 2020.

Piet Marks June 8, 2019 at 9:10 am

To Terry. I am speechless. Go visit the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art on Wooster in Manhattan. Founded by Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman dear and close friends of 50 years. Not only will you find out about artists but about people left and right to you and everywhere among us who are gay or lesbian. BTW I was born all those years ago in Amsterdam surrounded surrounded by gay and lesbian family members, somehow it didn’t make me gay, it is certainly not “catchy”. Be who you are and get over it if some people are different than you. Happy Pride Week.

Diane Lauricella June 8, 2019 at 10:45 am

Well-said Colin and commenters!

Love each other because of our differences, as life would be dull if everyone were carbon copies of each other.

Rejoice in our diffences!

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