This is Pridefest weekend in St. Louis…hooray!
I’ll be at the festival Saturday and Sunday…and I’ll be marching in the parade with Planned Parenthood along with my fellow activists too.
Pridefest is a fun two-day event here in St. Louis…but it is also an opportunity to meet folks from across the region, some of who are experiencing active discrimination and bullying in their communities.
I remember an encounter a few years ago, when I was at a booth distributing the Pride Pages. A young lesbian couple approached and I asked them whether they were enjoying the weekend. It was hot as hell…humid and muggy from a recent rain shower…and I felt like I was literally going to melt.
Translation – I was kind of bitter.
But the two women before me were all smiles and happiness.
They held hands…arms swinging…and told me that it was a rare pleasure to be able to do that in an accepting environment that celebrated love. One woman said that she feared having her employer find out that she is a lesbian because she was certain she would be fired.
Hands clasped together…
Her fears were and are valid – in the state of Missouri, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, refused access to public services, and denied parenting rights.
They thanked me for being a part of a festival they look forward to every year.
Arms swinging in rhythm to the music floating through the crowd…
I thanked them for attending…for sharing their story.
And I was reminded, as I am every June, what the movement for LGBTQ equality and rights is about.
Protection from harassment, discrimination, and bullying.
Education and empowerment that will make our communities more inclusive and stronger for it.
Visibility with out fear…love without violent repression.
Have a fantabulous Pridefest, y’all!
I hope to see you at Tower Grove Park…