Ebin Lee

It’s once again that colorful and wonderful time of year when every article of clothing features a prominent stripe pattern comprising no less than six colors, buzz cuts get buzzed a little closer, and eye shadow gets a great touch extra. It’s summer—season of short-shorts, exposed midriffs, and sweaty, throbbing pecs embellished with glitter. It’s June and it’s Pride Month! So just what do you plan to do with your gloriously gay, trans, or queer self while your ally friends overlay rainbow flags on their profile pictures?

There’s a tradition of saying you’re going on a pilgrimage to Stonewall, or take a weekend off from Hot Topic to hit every rave in town, because everyone knows the gays keep it turnt up on waves of house music and Spandex.

“We’re gonna build a float for the parade this year,” says one friend, just as they have every Pride for the 15 years you’ve known them. You’re not even convinced they know what a parade float is.

“The girls and I are hitting every gay bar in town, for four days straight, and turning every straight bar gay!”

Such is the grandiose braggadocio Pride brings out of its devotees—but behind closed doors, spoken only between the best and closest of friends, Pride confessions are made.

“I meant to drive up to Seattle this year, but finances are so tight right now.”

“I always plan to do it up for Pride, but once the weekend rolls around, I just wanna catch up on sleep.”

“Do I lose my gay card if I fucking hate parades more than I love dick?”

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why must we walk away from Pride every year with a newfound sense of shame for having failed to lose valuable hours of sleep, take years off the life expectancy of our livers, have a heated argument with our transphobic, born-again Christian aunt who just wants to “Make America Great Again” one Tiki torch at a time, have regrettable sex with a stranger, or try poppers again, even though we know they only give us a wicked headache? Since when did we collectively declare the month of June to be “Extrovert Pride Month?”

We’re an ever-expanding community: a majority made of minorities. We are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, agender, pansexual, polysexual, demisexual, two-spirit, short, tall, fat, slim, white, Black, and every possible shade in between. We are atheists, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, lovers, haters, sweethearts, shit bags, and introverts.

A sizable percentage of our community is every bit as out and proud as your Uncle Brenda pulling rainbow-colored Mardi Gras beads from his vagina while seated atop an inflatable unicorn surrounded by fire-juggling bears in kilts and high heels—but they’re just not about that nightlife. Some of us, myself included, are just as downright boring as heterosexual, missionary sex. There’s nothing wrong with that, but all of this raises an important question for those of us who work from home and have our groceries delivered, because sometimes outside is just a bit too overwhelming—even without a parade. How do we show that we’re out and proud without having to go outside?

Don’t get it twisted. There’s nothing wrong with hitting the club all weekend. All I’m saying is that it’s every bit as gay, and shows just as much pride to dance with your same-sex partner and your kids in the grocery store. Of course glory holes are super gay, but I posit that eye contact with the one or more partners with whom you share your deepest feelings and insecurities is 100 percent gayer, and there’s nothing more queer than processing your emotions mid-coitus. I would never discourage anyone from candy flipping and instigating a cuddle puddle of friends made a few hours before (whose names you won’t remember the following day). All the same, reading Let’s Talk About Love to your 12-year-old cat for the 10th time makes you no less out and proud. Besides, Michio’s still fluffy, adorable, and enjoys the read. And it’s no wonder you’re tired. You spent all week trying to explain your obsession with John Trengove’s The Wound to half a dozen eurocentic, cishet coworkers.

My simple suggestion is that we should all be proud this year—whether in a parade, at the club, or driving our kids (be they straight, gay, ace, or something far more complicated) to soccer camp. Happy Pride!