I am (written for St. Andrew’s Pride Service)

I was born in April. White. Male. Gay.

One strike against me

I could masquerade, cause confusion.

Not like the others who have their work cut out

for them

But it was March, in my adolescence, when I sat by the

bedroom window watching our middle class neighbourhood

emerge from winter, that I cried at knowing I

would grow up to be a homo and queer, words

that weren’t yet mine to own. Pervert. Fairy. Faggot. I wept

and felt a  darkness inside

at knowing that I would break my parents’ hearts and that their

raised eyebrows, smug glances and attitudes towards men together

were now meant for the likes of me.

March lasted a very long time, it moved in and

I dreamed of my older self comforting the younger one.

It wasn’t until my twenties that I told them and by

then they already knew – my colours were showing. Before my mother died

she told me that Priscilla Queen of the Desert was her favourite movie. I have been

one of the lucky ones – others leave home, are kicked out, turned away. Yes, I

have had friends who backed away, sat across rather than beside, but

others are shunned, put out of their community. Still it’s been a small

minefield of strangers throwing insults from cars, or empowered by their buddies

using the f-word while I look for the nearest exit, the fastest way to safety. And

I have watched friends die at the will of a strange disease with little effort to

find a vaccine. The fewer of us…

Where others have been beaten and beaten down, I have lived another day.

But now it’s June and what a month to be LGBTQ Gay. A gay month filled with

perfume in the air, peonies, poppies and lilacs, pollen bursting from buds and blossoms, rich

with mating and birth and all of the unexpected delights that nature seeds the path with. All rejoicing in being alive.

Nature has no agenda to eliminate the anomalies. The law of the jungle may be to eat

or be eaten but it has never been to beat or be beaten because your buds and blossoms aren’t like the rest.

Some say why pride? The work has been done, but no, there is still a world frozen by

religion, trapped by prejudice, fear, rhetoric, language and superstition. We cannot

ignore it – we know too much – our eyes are opened ever wider.

So here’s to you who still has to come out every day, whoever you are – has to teach the

world what it is to be you. To those of us who know sooner than later and the ones who arrived late to the party.

Here’s to you who still has to say I am…

And I am proud.

Out loud.