As we rode the trolley and watched the crowds go by (young couples making out, groups of friends brunching, outrageous outfits) I thought about how my experience of Pride has evolved over the last fifteen years.
Starting with those first years - oh, the magic of those first years. Just becoming aware that there was such a thing as LGBT culture. Too young to hit the bar scene - so this was the only time I'd ever seen more than a couple queer people in one place. I was a wide-eyed baby dyke just blown away with this world where I finally felt like I belonged.
As I got a bit older, more comfortable in my identity as a lesbian (and approached the bar scene age); Pride became a flirt fest. As I speed-dated my way though the local queer population I also really came into my political awareness and I realized Pride was a great opportunity to advance social change and raise awareness within our community.
As my activism merged with my profession Pride became a work event. There were years where I would hit 6-8 festivals during the June+ season. I traveled all over the country, met activists from all walks of life, and got to experience a wide range of Pride fests. It was thrilling at first and I know how lucky I am that I got to do that for my job. Although, after a few years it did get a bit tedious. The constant travel wore thin, the long days in the hot sun made me cranky, and trying to talk to crowds of drunk people about the details of legislation directly impacting our community was frustrating. Overall it was rewarding - but when I stopped working Pride Festivals, I took a few years off from attending Pride at all.
Then Leo came along. Even though he is still really young - I began to view Pride differently (again!). It's a great opportunity to see the diversity in our community, as well as a place to connect with other families like ours. It will be a conversation starter and an opportunity to ask questions. Most of all, it will be a celebration of who we are. From our individuality, to our family, to our larger community and allies.
I think our current way to experience Pride is my favorite yet. However you celebrate - I hope you had a great Pride!