June was Pride Month for GLBT folks (July is Pride month for all Americans!), and as I mentioned before, this year marked my first attendance at Pride Events as an openly gay person. I had been to a couple pride events in years past, but in my own mind, I attended as an anthropologist ("isn't it odd how even the fat ones take of their shirts?") not a participant.
I must say, that despite my concern that the Mardi Gras atmosphere may be counterproductive (and indeed leading to my inability to settle on whether Pride in ti's current form is good for us a "community" or not), I had a darn good time. After all, I am young; I like parties. Sure I may worry what the Fundies think of the bronzed and toned boys dancing on floats in their underwear, but in the meantime, I like looking at them. And talking to them!
It was refreshing to be around so many other gay people and supporters. Even when I was behind the table at the Log Cabin Booth, the vast majority of people who came up were very respectful, and many said something like "I'm a registered Democrat, but I still admire your courage in both the gay community and the Republican party." The whole weekend I got my taste of the relief of being out of the closet. It encouraged me to continue on this path.
But then my parents visited. Right back into the closet I went, almost subconsciously. I won't say that I am a huge projector of my sexuality (my voice is an anchorman's articulate baritone, not a femme's high-pitched lisp), but I do have a few stereotypical "tells" (crossing my legs at the knee, my choice of music), which I downplay around my parents. I didn't talk about any of my non-work friends, and even implied that I hadn't made any. The entire time they visited I could feel my face wanting to scowl, which was as much to hide any expression that may seem gay as it was a response to my discomfort.
That said, I do love my parents, and honestly I think I was more annoyed at myself than at them. Everyone who has taken the plunge tells me that it is much better on the other side of the mountain. Pride gave me my first real taste of that. Now I know more that than intellectually, I have experienced the relief of not hiding part of who I am. Nonetheless, my shame about being gay to my parents doesn't seem like it is dissipating. I found myself wondering if it was possible to be out where ever I end up and not ever affirmatively telling my parents (I determined that at some point my parents would realize that a lawyer doesn't need a "roommate," and my mother, as is her head-on way, would ask me directly). I have decided that this past visit is not the kind of relationship I want with my parents. Coming out to them is now all but inevitable. I just need to summon the strength.
Anyway, I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me so far; particularly my online friends Matt, Phil, and Jason, and my in-person friends Nick, Karen, Sean, Marcia, Alan and Allison. Hopefully I'll finish what I've started here.