I remember once coming out to someone and their answer was "that is a difficult life choice." And my response was "it is not a choice. Why would anyone chose this? If I could, I would be straight, but I cannot." I said this because I was newly out of the closet and scared. I was scared about how my family would take the news. I was scared about how I would be seen in society and whether society would reject me. I knew that being openly gay is not an easy thing to live with and I was terrified. I really wished I could be straight.
Today I would never say anything like that. I love being gay. It is true that it has made things difficult for my family. It is true that in my life I will have to deal with horrible homophobic people. I might not be able to legally get married (depending on where I end up living). But I can accept all that now. I have embraced my sexuality and my life is much better for it. The world is full of smart, wonderful, sweet, kind, beautiful guys and I love that I can enjoy that. When I love someone, I want everyone to know it. Why should my love be any different than a heterosexual person's love? Why should I let archaic social standards make me feel that I am less than anyone else? Who are they to decide that?
I very often hear things like...
"I don't hate gays, I just don't understand why they need the parades."
"What is gay pride? There is no such thing as straight pride."
When was the last time a young straight boy or girl killed themselves because they thought their very happiness would hurt their family? How many countries in the world put people to death for being heterosexual? Being gay is illegal in 78 countries around the world. In 7 countries -soon to be 8 if the Ugandan parliament passes the law they are trying to pass, gays are executed. In the US, among the top causes of death for LGBT teenagers is suicide.
Right now in the US, the Republican party is holding primaries. All the contenders disagree with each other on almost every issue. The only 2 issues that they all agree on are, no gay marriage and the return of "Don't ask "Don't Tell" banning gays in the military. They travel around the country spewing their hate in front of cheering crowds. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals off all ages see these political events. Their personal lives, their love is a political issues. They hear the cheers of the crowds full of strangers that hate them. All this is very damaging to an LGBT person's self image.
To counter act this damage, we must have the pride parades and the parades should be loud and colorful. All those that have been made to feel like they are less, need to see and hear the parade so they can know they do not have to feel that way. All the young teens that think they are facing a future of misery, need to be shown that it does not have to be that way. And it is important that these parades are not confined to San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, Tel Aviv etc. The parades need to happen in Oklahoma City, Arlington, Jerusalem and other "conservative" cities that wear their hate as a symbol of pride. The hate mongers need to know that they cannot force their intolerant standards onto others. And more importantly, the scared locals that are still in the closet need to know that they do not have to feel like they most hide who they are and that they are no less than anyone else. They need to know they can be proud.