I consider myself fortunate in that in the 16 years since I came out of the closet, I’ve never been at a loss for reasons to have pride—especially come June. I was undeniably nervous when I attended my first Pride parade, in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood. But as soon as the crowd surrounded me on the sidewalk and people just like me started marching down Broadway, I felt weightless. Years of insecurity washed off my shoulders.
I’m a little more jaded these days, in a “been there, done that” sort of way. Sure, I still love the idea of a good parade—and still feel a thrill upon seeing friends on a float or watching the PFLAG contingent pass. But I’m more comfortable away from the crushing crowds of West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard. I guess it took me a couple years to realize that pride and Pride weren’t necessarily the same thing. And while I can certainly experience one at the other, I don’t have to wait until June to celebrate either one of them.
It’s with that in mind that we bring you this issue’s “150 Reasons to Have Pride in 2010.” This isn’t the kind of list you need to memorize before heading to the parade. And you won’t win a toaster oven if every one of these 150 reasons leaves you with goose bumps. This list is instead a reminder that pride is more colorful than rainbow flags, sexier than Speedo-clad go-go boys, and often quieter than Dykes on Bikes.
Sometimes it comes on unexpectedly—as it did for our cover subject, Cynthia Nixon—who realized in 2004 that she was in love with and wanted to raise her family with a woman. In her discussion with executive editor Matthew Breen, Nixon doesn’t pretend to understand the wily ways of sexual orientation: “I had never met a woman I was attracted to [before meeting partner Christine Marinoni].” Yet she’s steadfast in her love and her conviction: “I identify as gay as a political stance.”
For some, pride comes after years of prayer—as it has for Bishop Mary Glasspool, who just 13 years after offering to resign from her church post because of her sexual orientation is now the first openly lesbian Episcopal bishop.
Pride’s also inexhaustible. There’s no way we could have captured it all in just 150 examples. You’ll undoubtedly come up with 150 others as you’re reading our list. Write them down, share them with your friends, or better yet, post them on The Advocate’s Facebook or Twitter page (@TheAdvocateMag). Whether you’re celebrating pride or Pride—with 150 reasons or hundreds of thousands of people—here’s hoping you find the same thrill I first did 16 years ago.