Pride In The Pines Helped Me Come Out

Pride In The Pines Helped Me Come Out

1439832739908Every year my wife Amy and I, have gone to Pride in the Pines; an event for the LGBT community held in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It’s near and dear to us, not just because we are a part of the LGBT community, but also our very first date was at Pride in the Pines.

I remember vividly that this was a time for me when I was going through intense self reflection, trying to figure out my own sexual identity.  Something I should have been free to explore as a teenager but
was repressed by my religious upbringing.  I felt really alone and confused as to whether someone could be bi-sexual.14392410547021439830710886

“Maybe I was gay and had just lived the facade of the ‘husband & wife with 2.5 kids life’, for so long I couldn’t quite tell now?”  I stilled loved my husband though and was attracted to him.  To further the confusion, it didn’t help that a really good friend of mine had just gone through a nasty divorce because his wife claimed to be bi and had left him for a woman.  I remember him telling me, “I believe people can be gay, but I think this bi thing is nonsense…”  He had no clue I was going through a bit of an identity crisis on the bi issue myself, and I wasn’t about to share anything right then.1439241227693

Needless to say, when my future wife Amy invited me to go with her to this event, I was intrigued. The impact this event made on my heart will last a lifetime, and helped me in ways I could have never foreseen.  It was so wonderful to see droves of people being accepted and having the freedom to be open about themselves.  The general level of acceptance even when I declared I was bi, was just what I needed during this time.  It really gave me the courage to know that just being myself was okay.

1439241163697It’s a long and interesting story about how my wife and I eventually got together.  Shortly after that pride event we actually broke up and wouldn’t even speak to each other for another 5 months.  But that is another story for another time… And I’m currently working on the manuscript of my memoirs.

It’s interesting to watch, only 5 years ago how this festival has evolved and changed.  It has gone from 1439241266435men in ass-less chaps to a more family friendly affair.  I kinda miss the ass-less chaps truth be told, but it’s a fair trade to let the little ones participate too.  Its been wonderful to see the growth, these past years have seen more and more hetero families there showing their support.

I recall a few years back when I asked a gay co-worker if she would be attending that year.  Our boss overheard us and said, “I don’t understand why you have to have a special festival to declare you are gay… I mean if you want to be recognized as normal then maybe you shouldn’t have all these ‘big to do’ celebrations.  You don’t see people having hetero pride month.”  While maybe I can understand his point of view, I wholeheartedly disagree with his opinion.

1439241119956After living in a world, where being who you are is rejected, I feel that celebrations like this give people in the LGBT community hope and courage to know that we aren’t alone.  It is a small community and I think these festivals allow us to come together and be proud of what makes us who we are.  It’s less about celebrating actually being gay and more about celebrating the freedom of self expression.

The Scots have the Highland Games to celebrate being proud of who they are!  Many Hispanics have festivals  to celebrate who they are, and so on.  I think it’s perfectly okay for the LGBT community to celebrate that our world is finally allowing us to just be us!

Here are our wonderful memories through out the last five years.  Hope you enjoy!

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