06/28/2016 04:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Am Small Town Gay Pride


While 1.6 million LGBTQ packed NYC, here in my town, eight drag queens and their fans packed a small town gay friendly bar last night and danced to Sister Sledge's 'We Are Family'.

Equal parts corny and cherished--it was the first time in three years my partner and I danced together on something other than a field of straw grass. We once swung each other around like Agnes De Mille's dancers in 'Oklahoma'. Out here in the pasture--that counts for dancing.

The same mix of comedy and tragedy, the same history, shared dialogue and music--drag culture is one way we express intergenerational love. Absurdist comedy and entertainment are powerful ways to link personal with the political. This is unique expression, with a deep historical root, and it is ours--our clowns, our dramatists, our theatrics--it's how we measure time.

I love gay culture. We dance well--we sing out--we fight for inclusion--not as who you want us to be but as who we are. We are not afraid to try things on: gay marriage, military service, guns (pro and con), politics, religion, an epidemic, heels and a wig, that bull in the heather--whatever it takes. We challenge ourselves to bloom.

In the country, when you swing each other around like a wagon wheel, the effect is strikingly similar to the strains of Sister Sledge at the discotheque. And in the worst of it, when we are shot and killed or denigrated for being who we are--we rise up, if only to prove gay pride exists and demonstrate love's triumph over our sometimes quiet, country lives.

The reflection of colored lights on a mirrored ball, then on the dance floor, is eerily reminiscent of lightning bugs in June. Strewn across a wildflower meadow, firing out to a back beat of night owls, bullfrogs, crickets, and the peepers--these illuminations brighten our senses.

The end of a cigarette, glowing orange, in the hands of one so young and rebellious as a small town drag queen informs every living thing.

Whispering, then calling out--I am small town gay pride.