You may not know it, but you're working with us and that could mean we are still in stealth. It could mean we are terrified to come out," Billings said. "You can make yourself known as an ally."
Central to celebrating Pride is recognizing the work that is yet to be done. Not until every American -- whether gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender -- is treated equally under the law will we fully realize our potential as a nation.
Being a Third Culture Kid -- someone who spent her developmental years outside her parents' home countries -- I never got the cultural coding that provides for a sense of nationalism or patriotism.
Right in the middle of the contagious enthusiasm, now proudly waving my flag, I could not help but think of all the people who still lack such a basic privilege.
An estimated 1 million people attended this past weekend's 46th Annual Chicago Pride Parade which was even more of a celebration thanks to the Supreme Court's historic ruling to make same-sex marriages legal across the country.
As a professor, photographer, and visual sociologist living in Seoul, South Korea for the last 13 years, I felt it was my duty to offer a little bit more depth to the photoreportage and paucity of analysis going on around the seemingly crazed antics that surrounded the recent Korean Queer Culture Festival that went on this past weekend.
My 13-year-old daughter turned to me at one point and said, "One day I will tell my kids that I remember when gays and lesbians won the right to be married." I glowed. It was one of those moments when I could pat myself on the back, knowing I was a good parent.
Before we'd gone more than a few steps, people were asking to take photos of us. Okay, mostly they were asking to take photos of my cute kid. Of his semi-toothless grin, blue fedora, pride flag and "My Two Daddies" t-shirt. He obliged politely, a bit overwhelmed.
Four years ago, marchers in New York City's Pride March--and revelers on the streets and in parties during and after the event--celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Empire State, which had come to pass only a few days earlier.
The headline on The New York Times read, "Equal Dignity." The White House was lit up in rainbow colors. My Facebook feed became a massive celebration of love, friendship, and sheer joy as people of all flavors added rainbow flags to their profile pics.
Long before I was walking, they were marching. The pioneers of gay rights, gay visibility, gay pride first took to the streets of New York City in 1970 to march. And somewhere on this long road, a company started marching, too. And then another and another. First to us, then for us, then as us.
It's been a weird couple of days. My 17 year old self would be so happy right now. After crying in a counselling office when Bush was re-elected and all of my Southern Californian classmates rejoiced, I would have lauded this day.
It is shameful and embarrassing when people who have acquired a position of power thanks to the activism of others (or even their own past activism) choose to criticize others who use the same tactics to fight for their rights or very existence.
"I'm still searching for my people sometimes, but I just think be honest with yourself, because I wasted a lot of time not being honest."
Is this a thing that happens? Do people come out -- or come back out -- as cis? How do you celebrate that? Unbake a cake? Re-wrap the gifts? Or do you mourn it? Do you shake your head at the person you thought you knew before shuffling back to your respective safe spaces, crestfallen?