So, I’m sitting here in the middle of Pride Week, at least here in Edmonton and I realized I had some things to say and if you know me at all, you know I say what’s on my mind, lol.
Saturday was the Pride parade in Edmonton and we all got up early in the morning and made our way into the city. Hubby went with my nephew to some sports thing while my daughter and I hopped on the LRT (our subway of sorts) and rode to Churchill Square, just outside City Hall.
It was a beautiful day and people were just starting to arrive and we took advantage of the lack of crowds to walk around and look at every booth. At the biggest booth selling Pride merchandise, her eyes got wide and happy and I knew I was about to spend some money. The girl ended up covered in rainbows and she was so enthusiastic and silly that all the people working loved her and I couldn’t blame them in the least.
At 13 this amazing young lady is the center of my world and her father’s. She’s not perfect and we don’t expect her to be. She’s got the teenage attitude thing going on and boys are starting to take notice and some days I want to lock her in Rapunzel’s tower to keep her safe.
But she’s fierce and independent and way smarter than I could ever hope to be and watching her on Saturday was a revelation that took my breath away.
When I went to Pride for the first time last year I was blown away by it all. The joy and feeling of freedom that everyone was sharing was almost overwhelming for me and I found myself close to tears several times at how wonderful it all was and at how much I wished it could be like that every day. I never heard one cruel word the whole time I was there and so many people stopped to talk to me and asked if I was having a good time and wish me a Happy Pride. I was alone but I’m glad of it because I met some amazing people and I think the experience would have been different if I would have had people with me.
But as I watch my girl on Saturday I kept waiting for her to show some kind of big emotion. I waited for questions that never came and at first I was concerned that she was missing something, but then as I listened to her chat with the people around us, I realized that for her, this was just how it was. Everyone was the same in her eyes, from the adorable young gay couple standing on one side of us to the mom and dad and their three kids on the other side and the grandparents who had complimented her on something a few minutes before.
In her eyes, everyone is equal because that’s what I’ve taught her.
For her, the party was great and the people were fun, but she wasn’t quite getting the big deal because for her this is how it’s supposed to be.
I grew up in a different world than she did in so many ways. Some of the things are worse now. She will never leave the house in the morning and not come home until dark in the summer without checking in because it’s not safe and that’s why she has a phone. Things are scarier now in lots of ways but there are issues that are a good kind of different too.
She knows that the LGBTQ community is still fighting for equality in so many ways but in her mind, it’s a forgone conclusion. Equality is coming and it will happen and she just doesn’t understand why it’s taking so long.
People from my generation (if they thought about it at all) hoped for a brighter future for the LGBTQ community but weren’t sure it would ever happen. When I think about how I was her age when I first started hearing about AIDS and HIV and that was probably my first introduction to the gay community. And even back then, I knew that the horrible things that I was hearing on TV weren’t right and it was then that I started to realize how much injustice had been done to a whole community of people. I’m floored at how far we’ve come…and how far there still is to go.
But watching my girl dance and smile as the parade went by, I figured out that she was the biggest and best thing I had ever done to fight against that injustice and that she is going to be one of the reasons that equality for everyone will happen.
I took her to Pride because I wanted her to see that I didn’t just say I believed in equality, but that I actually meant it and would do my part to support it. I wanted her to learn something and I suppose she did, but in the end, it turns out that I learned even more.