Queer Shift

ABC-Shift: A Pride survival guide for grown-ups

Being, doing and having Pride in Utah is unlike experiencing it in any other place. I’ve done it in New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Atlanta, and nothing equates to our interpretation of how it turns up. In a special queer issue of The Stranger in 1999, openly gay and wonderfully controversial author, pundit and journalist, Dan Savage, questioned the relevance of pride 30 years later. Well, hell — it’s been 14 years since Savage’s question, and I believe it’s time to ask it again. Maybe we should be asking that question of ourselves annually. Pride. So many definitions, thoughts, feelings. Is it an event? Is it still a movement? Is the movement over? If so, what’s replaced it? Does it happen during a weekend, a month, or is it a personal focus or intention year round?

A few weeks ago, I was honored to sit on a panel hosted by the Utah AIDS Foundation called Doctors, Dinner, and Dudes, facilitated by the gifted John Bonner, talking about self love. It resonated, reverberated, resounded, rejuvenated. Making yourself proud is what became glaringly apparent. So, in that spirit, I humbly offer up some collective wisdom for making Pride (the event and you) fabulous. Okrrr? Warning: I’m not trying to get under your skin, but I am trying to get each of you to step up and stop being a spectator in your own self pride, and maybe, just maybe, stand up for something that possibly scares you. Reclaim “MeInc.” Self love is the first step down the road to real Pride.


Emerson said it best: ”Do you want to be a power in the world? Then be yourself.”

Abundance. Pride begins with abundance versus a scarce mindset. Sounds simple, but isn’t! More equals more. There is enough to go around. I don’t have to compete, compare, complain, or criticize to be me. Said! Oh and while we’re on the A’s, think about acceptance, attraction, allowance, and the biggest A of them all – authenticity!

Be. Being whoever the fuck you want to be. Birl that pine log, find your balance by losing it.

Courage is being yourself everyday in a world that tells you to be someone else. Celebrate you.  Collaborate, cooperate, compromise, especially during Pride!

Dance. Dance with your fears and then sit their asses amongst the other wallflowers. Dance with done, and embrace it. Dance with done. Oh, and resistance, blaming, shaming and judging. Three more D’s — Pride is about a whole lot more than drugs, drink and dick! Think.

Equality for everyone. Strides are being made at warp speed–so fast one can hardly keep up. Take time to specifically thank yourself for being part of the great transformation, but even more importantly thank someone who came before you that paved the way for the current rapid shifts in rights. It wasn’t always this easy, this open, this fun, or this safe to be this proud.

Flowers. Find some, buy some, plant some, give them to someone with a hug, a smile; let them know you flourish in their fabulousness.

Grapple with gratitude. It’s directly connected and related to your greatness.

Heritage. We queers have it. Embrace, engage, prosper from it, show up with it, flourish in it. It gets stronger if you do.

I’m making myself proud. It’s my job, no one else’s. Just like Byron Katie said, “It’s not your job to like me — it’s mine.”

Joy, joke, throw some jubilance. “Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.” (Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida)

Kindness. Show some. Expect some. Just be kind. Bitches are boring. Cleanse that karma, be grateful, act with love, check your motives, watch your attitude and forgive.

Love wins over hate. “Let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.” —Marc Hack

Mindfullness. Everyone’s talking about it, writing about it, blogging about it. Be aware, love what is, and who you are, just as you would have it. Awareness is the opposite of clueless. Otherwise swing by the Clue Store and pick up a 6-pack, you’ll not only enjoy Pride more, but life as well.

Never give up on someone you can’t go a day without thinking about. Pride is a time to reconnect, rekindle, reflame. That being said, remove yourself from toxicity on a regular basis.

Opinions and open minds matter. Everyone’s. Know yours, make sure your actions and your values are aligned so you can speak your opinion, all the while respecting other people and their paths. Surrounding yourself with people who only think how you think leaves you with lost opportunities. Seek out and celebrate those who are very different from you, then pull up a chair sit your ass down, and truely listen.

People. A person’s actions will tell you everything you need to know about them. Observe. And pluralism (people count, all people).

Quiet. Find some. Share some with someone. Pride is full of noise, take a few minutes to do some self-reflection and know who you are down to the core: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

Reinvent what is uniquely queer to you. Don’t abdicate your passions and what makes life worth living to anyone.

She. Know when she has had it. When it’s time to be over, move on, take a rest, go to sleep, downshift the queer, and respite (an interval of rest or relief). Please share and shout your story. It’s yours and its one of a kind.

Truth. Tell it to yourself. If you don’t who will?

Utah’s other Pioneers. We be they!

Vulnerable is the only way you can feel — truly share your whole self. The laws of attraction and allowance are real. Discover how to make them work for you, and being truly eyes-wide-open vulnerable is a great place to begin.

Warranty. The warranty for finding yourself, being certified, genuine, real, true, verifiable begins in taking Pride in who you are to the core inside. Who would you be without your story? Own it, share it, sing it.

Xerarch. Our Pride originates in a dry habitat or desert. Xebec is a pirate ship. Queer pirates only steal in order to remix, shake it up and then give back abundantly. God–X?

You win some, you lose some, and if you’re lucky you get some. Hell yes. Yell it out. Youth isn’t a number, it’s an outlook and attitude. So many truly disruptive queers have been youngsters, even the old ones — don’t ever forget that.

Zion. Of course. Zion is full of all things gay: the radical activists, the regular folks, the queens, the divas, the militants with intense passion who started our gay culture. Celebrate those and the traditions they left. Those who created a brave, proud path. On the other hand, remember this wisdom from poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) about creating your own legacy “Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.” Seek something. Be specific.

Pride 2013. The weekend, the month, the year — wear your strengths, beauty and wounds with pride. Being too careful — you could hurt yourself. Wisdom!

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