Pride Pittsburgh

There are so many reasons why I try to attend Pride Pittsburgh every year. There are countless things I could tell you about why I support equal rights. But at the end of the day, what it all comes down to is selfishness.

I’d like to say it’s selfless, my passion for the cause, but that wouldn’t be true. Sure, I’m not gay. No one in my family is gay. I’ve never been discriminated against based on my sexuality, so, okay: it could seem like I am just looking out for others.

But the reality is I’m just looking out for myself. And I’ve said it before, perhaps more eloquently than now.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

I don’t ever want to have to feel an ounce of pain if my son turns out to not fall into the “norm”. If he isn’t the typical straight white male that he most likely will be, I don’t want him to worry. I don’t want to feel the pain of having to explain to him why someone was mean to him. I don’t want to cry over the fact that he will be discriminated against based on something that is just who he is.

He’s my everything. My entire world. It’s hard enough explaining to him why there were people that made me very angry at the festival. “Some people are mean to other people, and that makes Mommy angry and sad at the same time. Those people? They are being very mean to many of the people here at the event, and they are being mean simply because they think the people here are different and that different is bad.” He doesn’t know what sexuality is yet, so he didn’t understand the context of it all. He gets the gist, though. He knows that you aren’t mean to people because they are different. My four year old can state why we aren’t mean to people and yet here were grown men attacking nearly everyone at a mostly celebratory event.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

And then there is us: a man, a woman, and their child. And…I was attacked. Not physically, but verbally. I was told that I am a terrible parent for bringing my son to a place full of such “abominations” and “terrible people”. I was told that a good parent would never be there. That letting my son be around these people would harm him.

My blood pressure rose, I was shaking, I told them that they were the disgusting ones. It took everything in my power to not say more. To not get into it. It wasn’t worth it, and I couldn’t do that to my oblivious child.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

We watched the parade, but not for very long. Alex was tired, hot, and, honestly, bored. He had no real idea why we were there. He just wanted lemonade and toys.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

And for that I am thankful. I can only hope that the coming years bring more change. That I never have to explain to Alex why some of his favorite people in the world are not able to marry the people the love. Why some of the closest adults in his life are ridiculed, discriminated against in the workplace, yelled at on the street.

It’s all selfish. I don’t want to deal with the pain anymore.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

11 thoughts on “Pride Pittsburgh

  1. I think it’s GREAT that you are teaching your child tolerance. It’s a difficult thing to do, especially before he’s old enough to understand things. But someday he will be grateful and proud that his parents were courageous enough to help him become an open-minded, compassionate human being.

  2. I think it’s GREAT that you are teaching your son tolerance. It’s difficult to do. But someday he will be grateful and proud that his parents were courageous enough to help him become an open-minded, compassionate human being. The world needs more of those! 🙂

  3. Wow. This is a great post, and your son is so lucky to have caring parents who show him examples of love and acceptance.

  4. I don’t think you were being selfish. I think you were hoping to instill tolerance and love in your child. I think the daily way you live will teach him that and if you home is filled with love as I can bet it is, he will feel at ease and talk to you about whatever issues he may need to. People can be so hateful, on so many levels, but it is good that you didn’t “react” badly in front of your son. That would have only upset the both of you…..

    1. You are so correct. My instinct was to react, but I am very glad that I didn’t. It definitely would have led to upsetting my son.

      I hope that you are right about him feeling at ease to talk with us! We try to let him know that we love him no matter what.

  5. It’s disturbing that my home town, Pittsburgh, still has so many people who feel it’s okay to discriminate against gay people. I read this blog just a week or son after Charles Blow wrote a story in the New York Times about voter preferences rooted in racial discrimination. The location in the US with the largest percentage of people who vote based upon race: western PA. What is going on there? Not the city of my childhood… it was a city of immigrants and unions back then.

    1. I also read that article, and found it extremely disturbing. (Western PA and West Virginia at the top of the list!)

      It isn’t the most friendly city at times. I am lucky that I am surrounded in my day-to-day life by people that are *not* that way. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them around, and these days? The nurses don’t even have a union!

  6. I probably would have used a lot of curse words because I can’t control my temper when I am outraged. You handled it well. Bigotry and hate *are* disgusting.

    1. I wanted to, trust me. It took a lot of self restraint! Fortunately (well, in this case at least!) I am the type of person who generally just gets shakey/cries/hides when angry.

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