Five 2012 Pride Stories to Warm Your Gay Heart

I am one of those people who possess the remarkable ability to cry at pretty much anything. What is especially remarkable is that the things that make me cry the most are the things that make me the happiest. In fact, I pretty much lose it anytime I observe anyone being really happy, even if I’m not directly involved at all! Consequently, I am a choking-slobbering-snotty mess during two notable events: award shows, and Pride.

Maybe you’re not as emotionally wrecked by Pride as I am — maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to attend your own Pride yet. (You will!) Maybe you’re just not that into having to leave the house and function as an active, social member of a community. (Understandable.)

Alternately, maybe you view Pride as a time to party a lot and have a lot of sex (which I also approve of), as opposed to, you know, crying hysterically like an overwrought child. You may be shooting me a concerned look and asking me to rethink my choices a little. (I know.)

In any case, whether you partake in any of the festivities wherever you are or not — and I do hope there are festivities wherever you are — Pride is a cool time to be queer because there are so many cool queer things that happen. While it would be impossible to list them all, here’s a list of five of those cool queer things for 2012.

1. Mormons bein’ awesome

It’s not often that you hear gay people talk about Mormons bein’ awesome, but listen, when they are awesome, we should give them props. This story out of Salt Lake City, which I heard about via the lovely Heather Hogan, isn’t even about gay members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, but about straight ones voluntarily wanting to support the LGBT community — specifically, one fine lady by the name of Erika Munson. She created a group called Mormons Building Bridges, which invited straight Mormons to march in their church clothes in Salt Lake City’s Pride parade this weekend. When I read this story on Friday, Munson had gathered 100 people; there ended up being over 300, of all ages, who marched Sunday. As she says:

“I felt that there must be people like me,” Munson said, “who are committed to the church, who believe in the gospel and want to live Jesus’ word, which is, ‘love one another.’ “

Holy smokes! What a wacky idea! Hey, Erika Munson, have you ever considered working for Fox News? Because there are some people that have some really weird views about Jesus over there; maybe you could help them out.

Munson says she wasn’t inspired by any gay people in particular in her life, but by her children, who had begun to question the LDS Church for its views on LGBT rights. The Children of America, everyone: They are rising. And they are going to change the world.

2. Grand Marshal of Central Indiana Pride Parade Is Freaking Amazing Cambodian Olympic Diver Boy With Two Dads

Jordan Windle is like pretty much any other 13-year-old boy, if every 13-year-old boy spent the beginning of his life in a Cambodian orphanage. And if every 13-year-old boy had two wonderful dads. And if every other 13-year-old boy was also the youngest person to ever qualify for U.S. Olympic trials in diving. No big whoop, he’s also going to be the grand marshal of the Pride parade on June 9 in Circle City, Indiana because you know, why not. Like most kids in extraordinary situations, he seems to view his situation as being not so extraordinary at all.

He views the world so unself-consciously that when asked if he ever gets tired of people questioning him about his origins and his family, he simply shrugged. “I’ve never actually thought about it.”

If you want a better glimpse at the calm clear-headedness with which this boy walks through the world, you can watch his It Gets Better video, because of course he has an It Gets Better video:

 

Stop looking at me like that! I just got a piece of dust in my eye! A 13-year-old-Cambodian-gay-pride-marching-Olympics-dreaming-boy sized piece of dust!

3. People getting their Pride on even when all the other losers don’t want them to: International Edition

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where there are so many Pride events happening you won’t even have time to go to them all, it’s always good to take a step back and think about the places that don’t have any Pride at all — or to take a moment to rejoice in the small victories of countries celebrating their first Pride celebration ever, as happened in Burma (Myanmar) this past weekend.

While homosexuality itself is still illegal in this Asian country that’s struggling to create a new identity after 50 years of military rule, and while the country’s queer community didn’t feel safe enough to enact a full-fledged parade, a few hundred people still showed up to dance and discuss and be gay. As one Burmese gay reported:

“In the past we didn’t dare do this. We’ve been preparing to hold this event for a long time — and today, finally it happened,” gay make-up artist Min-Min told the AFP news agency.

Min-Min, that just makes me want to give you a big hug.

In addition, countries in Eastern Europe, where the legacy of communism has stifled homosexual visibility for decades, made some notable strides with gay pride parades being held successfully in Poland and Latvia. This story is only half-heart-warming, because in order for these parades to even happen, they had to be heavily protected by police. But still! They were protected, and the parades still happened, so go Poland and Latvia! The US supported these events, and the US Ambassadors of each country attended their respective country’s parade; US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia also joined in the revelry in Warsaw. So hey, go US, too!

2012 Pride Parade in Warsaw

Photo by Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/GettyImages

Of course, close by in Russia, gays who attempted to hold a Pride parade in Moscow were thwarted and detained by the police. Way to be a bummer, Russia.

4. Politicians join in the gay ol’ time

Christine Quinn, speaker of the New York City Council who is both the first woman and the first openly gay council member to hold that position, recently got to get legally-gay-married. Hurrah! She continued her good gay times when she marched in the gay Pride parade in Queens this weekend. In addition to Quinn, this celebration also included the Broadway cast of Wicked and MARTHA WASH! If you are not familiar with Martha Wash, you should be, because she is a queen. I am flat-out jealous that I wasn’t in Queens this weekend.

 

In Canada — because really, we don’t hear about Canada enough — the premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, attended the gay Pride parade in the capital of Edmonton, the first time a premier had ever done so in the event’s 32-year history.

And back in the United States (sorry, Canada, that was quick), Obama officially declared June LGBT Pride Month, as he has every June since he’s been president. (The only other president to do so previously was good ol’ Bill Clinton, who declared June “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month” in 2000. But he only got to declare it once, and Obama’s now done it four times — and added the “B” and “T” — so Obama still wins. At least in terms of the declaring-June-gay issue.)

5. A general conglomeration of things that show how our community is growing, evolving, and becoming more inclusive and accordingly more awesome

When I started searching for stories about Pride for this article, there was so much to look through that it was overwhelming. But a few things happening in different cities around the country stuck out to me as being particularly great. For instance, when I was sentimentally perusing Boston Pride’s website (where I attended my first Pride, and where I am always slightly prejudiced towards being The Best), seeing information about Youth Pride (already held in May) and Latino Pride made my heart happy, just as happy as it was when I read about the world’s largest African-American Pride event happening in August in Atlanta. My heart fluttered giddily anytime I saw “Trans March” listed along with the well-known “Dyke March” on cities’ itineraries. My heart wanted to shout “Awww!” when I read about the increase of children-friendly events being organized to reflect the rising numbers of gay families who want to celebrate Pride together:

“Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have seen this anywhere,” said Tobin Strader, an Indianapolis Public Schools teacher. “I think it speaks to the changing face of the gay community and the American family.”

Basically, my heart is tired from being so excited for queers everywhere. Keep being gay, world!

And while I have the Boston Pride website up on my computer, I’ll leave you with this message from Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (from The Real Housewives of New York), because she is the most ridiculous woman to ever exist and I’ve watched this video five times and have laughed hysterically at this song every single time, and maybe you’re having a crappy day and need to laugh, too.

 

What are you doing to celebrate Pride, lovely AfterEllen.com community? (If your only answer is, “I might watch a lot of gay TV,” I’m going to say that counts!)

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