Pride in the Name of Love
… special T-shirts for everyone …
… we’ll all walk in the parade! …
… T-shirts costs just $10 …
Grace leaned into me and whispered, “I’ll be famous!” She heard all she needed.
She’ll get to move in close, past the peddling carts and creepy clowns, just past where the Shriners’ go-karts zoom past kids’ toes. Grace can reel in her body weight in candy and beads that are tossed on the parade route. It’s time for her to take her game to the next level.
This parade though … she knows nothing about. I’m not sure she cares.
But she should know about it. And I will be the one to teach her.
She wants to march in the Gay Pride parade, right here in Charlotte.
Google search the terms Coach Daddy and Republican and unemployed, and you’ll find this.
Google search Coach Daddy and Libertarian, and you’ll find this.
My red looks more purple now, and I’m OK with that. “Fiscally responsible and socially aware.” I’ll live that profile. In fact, I’ll get to model that as I march alongside Grace in this parade. We’ll wear red. We’ll have fun. We’ll meet new people, march with friends, and see the parade from the inside.
I’ll first have to teach her what it means to be gay.
I want Grace to know why we march. Not to become famous, as she envisions. (Cute, isn’t it?) Not out of obligation. We’ll march to support people really not unlike us. I don’t remember my heterosexuality ever being a choice. It’s who I am. So it stands to reason it’s who they are too.
I could insert the obligatory tale of “I worked for a gay man!” or “the lesbian couple in our apartment complex is soooo nice,” but I won’t. It doesn’t matter what percentage of my friends are gay, or not gay.
What will matter most is that my words convey to Grace how I feel about participating in a march that can bring a degree validation someone in the crowd might so essentially be searching for. Simply by being there, or a simple smile and wave.
To demonstrate that the community that has banded together that day not only has support from within, but from without – that a heterosexual man and his people-loving daughter can choose not to stay at home on this important day for them, but claim our spot in their community as well.
We are a part of it. We were part of it before a tuned-in 8-year-old jutted her hand in the air when the pastor asked who would participate, in an instant volunteering her entire family.
I’ll have to tell her, but not worry her, about those we might encounter who aren’t as accepting. That although there’s love and acceptance out there, there’s hate out there, too.
We’ll be there, wearing red. In support of those we know and those we don’t. We’ll even bring a little diversity to an already diverse crowd, with our multi-nationality kids whose parents have voted Republican all their lives. (I realize the irony of wearing red shirts that day, too).
I won’t disclose what I’ll say to my future parade marcher before we hit the street, or how she’ll react. There’ll be questions. There’ll be observations. There’ll be a discussion. There always is, with these kids. I love that. I also know there’ll be learning as part of our discussion.
If I’m lucky, she’ll learn something, too.