A Call to Pride

Carla Hanson

There likely isn't a LGBT American who's not taken stock of her or his own life in the past few days. While the horrors of Sunday June 12 will be ever etched in our collective psyche, each of us individually has taken these past 3 days to mourn, to reflect & to assess the trajectory of our own particular gay life.

We have traveled thru almost half a century of the Modern Gay (LGBT) Rights Era from the flashpoint of Stonewall in June, 1969. Our lives, especially among those of us more weathered, have been lives half in and half out of society - at times we've basked in the glow of the great camaraderie we have found with others like us. At other times we toiled along in the loneliness of a world that was loathe to acknowledge us, let alone "tolerate" and actually accept us.

The stark rejection for many of us wasn't limited to American Society's disdain, but it was the rejection of our family and friends that cut us most, and kept many of us closeted - even from ourselves - well into adulthood. The scars from those rejections never fully healed, and for too many that rejection is still very present-tense. While we have rejoiced in the progress our movement has made, and while we cheer the youth who take queer as normal, both old scars and fresh scabs were ripped away with the hideous atrocity in Orlando.

We expected the political backlash from the Fundamentalist Right with their perpetual homophobic legislation. We did not expect 100 of our young brothers, sisters and allies to be be murdered and wounded in a horrific massacre.

We are jolted and we are in pain.

But with the same fierce resolve that ignited a movement at Stonewall and that demanded our government pay attention to the Aids Crisis, we will emerge stronger. With both the veteran activist hacks who challenged the OCA in the 90's, and with the young advocates who have cut their political teeth on busting through the barriers to Marriage Equality, we are even more committed to securing full equality and justice for all our LGBT family members nationwide. Most significantly, we are dedicated to creating a society that welcomes warmly every new generation of LGBT youth, so they neither question nor feel compelled to hide their lives nor their love.

This week we weep in our quiet moments alone, but this week we also come together as a more powerful movement with new resolve and unity.

Portland's Pride weekend starts in just a few days. Let's be out there prouder than ever.

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