This week, we celebrate Pride in Rochester!

There are a lot of Pride events happening, and you can check them out here.

I marched in my first Pride parade when I was 21. Shortly after I started coming out, I attended Pride in Syracuse, and then marched here in Rochester. I remember feeling like I was a part of a community that supported me. A community that was here for me; that still is. A community that I’ve embraced, worked with, supported, and celebrated.

And as it is, every July, we have our annual Pride events in Rochester. But I want to share what Pride means to me.

A few years ago, I was looking at the word “Pride” and thinking about what it could stand for. This is what I came up with:

Personally

Recognizing

Individual

Diverse

Expression

It is vital that we continue to recognize and celebrate the diverse expression of sexuality, gender expression and identity- ultimately, the truth of what love is. Regardless of whether that is love of self, or loving someone of the same gender, we can celebrate that love, we can celebrate family, and community.

Every year, around Pride, this meme pops up:

pride image

What!?

If you’ve watched a Pride parade, I’m sure you’ve seen men, or women dancing with each other.

What else did you see?

If this is all you are focusing on, as a way to shame, or judge, or cast a shadow on the parade, you are doing absolutely nothing to celebrate and lift up our community.

Yes, you’ll see the boys and girls dancing. But that is not just what the Pride parade is about.

We march to celebrate our community. We march with our transgender brothers and sisters. We march with our LGBTQ families, people of color, people who identify as queer, gender expansive, churches and allies and politicians hoping to gain the LGBTQ vote. So stop sharing the meme, and celebrate people living, loving and enjoying their lives.

That brings me to another point. If you are running for office, for the first time, or for reelection, we are aware of who the part-time allies are. You had the opportunity before you ran for office to become an ally to different communities- LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, people with disabilities, etc. Perhaps work on supporting these communities before you run for office?

Enough of the seriousness.

I’ll see you out for Pride this weekend! I’ll be at the kickoff event on Friday, marching with Rochester’s Mayor- Mayor Lovely Warren, and enjoying the festival Saturday afternoon. I hope to see you out, celebrating our diverse and amazing community.

Happy Pride!