Now that May is here, it's exactly a month before LGBT Pride here in Cleveland.
The first few times I went to Pride, I was just an attendee. I marched with groups in the community that I was close to and stayed from start to finish.
The lineup and Opening Rally for Pride used to be on E.18th and Euclid. Then came the long march to Voinovich Park. We walked up Euclid, through Public Square, up to Ontario, in front of City Hall, then down E.9th to the park. It was a long and hot walk or a long and wet walk of Pride that was rained out.
Since my first march in 2002, my bisexual orientation has remained constant while my sexuality has not. In my 20s I actively pursued women for relationships. I went back and forth between wanting to form monogamous or polyamorous partnerships. I connected with the asexual community.
When I started running groups myself, Pride became more of a marketing tool than a place to openly be who I was. Now the time beforehand is used to try and gather money for a booth, marketing materials, and items for sale.
Preparing for a day of fun and possibly finding love has taken a back seat to activism. Some years this sacrifice is easier than others.
This year I feel the sacrifice already.
As I get older and more concrete and adamant about what I want, not finding those things have depressed me greatly. I feel selfish enough to want to enjoy the fruits of 15 years of activist labor. I want to prove to the world that what we fight for guarantees a happy ending.
Unfortunately, these same desires of mine cause my own pride to diminish as I only seem to come across everyone I'm not interested in. In being pickier, I've become more judgmental and jaded of the new generation of LGBT people and of those who come out later in life. I know what I want, and I'm pretty stuck up towards those who don't fit what I'm looking for.
If someone is not in my age range? No. Thank You. If someone doesn't live in Ohio? I'll pass. If someone who is poly and already in a relationship yet wants my attention? I leave them alone. Someone with children? I'm good. Someone bicurious or heteroflexible wants a relationship? None of that. Someone, who's come out late in life wants to date me? I don't think so.
However, I remain steadfast in my resolve to work on myself so I can be someone that others are proud to be with. I wouldn't want to be with someone who looked down on everyone before I came along. What would that say about them? What would that say about me accepting that behavior and being with them anyways? Nothing good. I can't be who I wouldn't want to be with.
In order to show people your pride, you have to be good with your pride. That's who I want to be.