I was only 12 at the time of the Stonewall Riots, and knew nothing about them till I was a young adult just starting college, and participating in Ohio State’s Gay Activist Alliance (GAA), but I often try and think about what it must have been like, back in 1969 for all those gay, lesbian, bi, and trans persons who were not at the Stonewall inn when the riots began, but were a part of the NYC scene at the time. Information then, would have been passed from person to person by phone or personal conversation, as well as what was captured on the not very supportive television news. Over the course of the riots the crowd grew each night as word spread. What was the experience of all those who came to join after it started? What was their mental processes, and what things did they consider as they wondered, ‘should or or shouldn’t I get involved’?

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Pittsburgh Pride this year is complex, and many here are wondering what they should do. Do they boycott Pittsburgh Pride and the Delta Foundation? Do they stand in solidarity with Roots Pride? Do they just go to Pride and not think about it? These are just the tips of the iceberg however. The thoughts, questions and ideas go far deeper and are far more nuanced.

For some, participation in Pride is crucially important, and they can’t imagine not marching. For others, a booth at Pridefest must exist so that their services are made known to festival goers.  I wish I could both not be involved and just forget it is Pride and at the same time, want to make the most of today and of Pride.

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And all of it is okay. Really, it is all okay.

Pride is all about a conscious effort to examine the status quo and decide where to add your voice for change. For some, the status quo still feels too comfortable– they aren’t ready for change, and for others, there is true urgency to make change happen immediately, and many, many are somewhere between these two positions.

Most importantly, Pride is very much about what you as a gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer, straight person does after today. It isn’t what you do today, but rather, how what happens today informs the next 364 days of your life.

Thinking back to NYC in 1969, I’m sure there were some who didn’t get involved right away. For some the images they saw on television or heard about where too frightening. but the seed for real liberation was still planted, even in them. Change evolves, and comes over time. What happens today is just a beginning, and the complexity of ideas, emotions, and efforts is par for the course. This is Pride. This is as Pride should be.

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