After I came out in 1975, I escaped from my conservative Catholic upbringing in New Jersey and moved to the East Village to be a dyke.
Since then, I always mark the start of summer with Pride.
But this year the big NYC Pride March was canceled, for the first time since 1970. Over the decades, I was thrilled to march and protest and cheer with friends and lovers. In 45 years, I have only missed this event twice.
I can trace my queer evolution from the different contingents I joined to march with over the decades. In the ’70s, I stepped out with the feisty Lesbian Feminist Liberation.
In the ’80s, I marched with my partner as part of the Gay Teachers Association, where we met at a meeting.
In the ’90s, I went with the Gay Writers and was the group marshall.
During the moment of silence, I thought of Joe, my college boyfriend who died of AIDS.
Of course, he wasn’t my only loss. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, I protested with ACT-UP outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. (Rest in Power, Larry Kramer.)
In the new century, I started marching with Middle Collegiate Church, which this recovering Catholic joined to get through the devastating breakup of my 26-year relationship. Reverend Jacqui Lewis, our pastor (who calls herself “the queerest straight black woman”), led our loud group. We sang to the gospel choir who rode on a colorful float.
I know I’m biased but I think NYC Pride is the best — not just because I live here — but because we get to march past the Stonewall Inn, where it all began in 1969.
Read the rest of the article in The Village Sun