"June is bustin' out all over..." from Carousel sums up Pride celebrations this year, too. With all the advancements in our quest for full equality, not the least of which is our president saying he favors marriage equality, it is quite a historic time to show our pride and be proud of who we are. Our march to full equality is far from over, but we are most definitely on a steady and strong path.
It's important for us to share our stories and our pride as a community. My Pride month was full of incredible moments, and they define and exemplify what pride means to me in 2012: a cause, a couple, and community service.
I am immensely proud of the 2,200 cyclists and 550 volunteers who raised $12.6 million to fight HIV/AIDS through their participation in AIDS/LifeCycle 11 in early June. The epidemic that took a generation of gay men and others in their prime over the last 30 years is not over. So we ride our bikes 545 miles, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, as a community bonded by a common purpose. Between 18 to 83 years old, from 44 states and 14 countries, of all levels of athletic ability, about half of us are LGBT and half are allies. We raise awareness and funds that benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (full disclosure: I am the CEO of that organization) and the HIV/AIDS programs of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. The ALC community has been called a "love bubble." If you want to experience real personal and community pride and accomplish something truly amazing, join us next year. It will change your life.
My pride further enhanced as I had the honor of officiating the wedding of two wonderful friends. There's nothing like a June wedding in Provincetown, especially this one, which included a groom and many other men in uniform (sigh), a full sword arch under which the happy gay couple entered the wedding reception, and the responsibility to proudly and legally proclaim, "With the authority invested in me by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you husbands for life." I don't know what could have made me more full of pride, aside from it being my own wedding, of course. Hope may spring eternal for my own wedding, but pride is alive and well for now. It was truly a wonderful and historic storybook wedding.
And as June came to a close, I was in Las Vegas for the 30th birthday celebration of a young man I consider as much a friend as the "son" I will likely never have. I have known him for a decade and have watched him grow into a respected professional, activist, and community leader. Now he is running for public office himself in Washington, D.C. What could make a gay former-elected-official "dad" prouder than seeing his gay "son" grow up and seek to serve the public himself? Not much, really.
So yes, my June Pride is bustin' out all over. When I think of what pride means to me this year, I think of a cause we all must recommit to, a couple's love that can now be fully recognized, no longer forced to be hidden, and a commitment to step into the public sphere, serve the community, and make a difference for good.
I just couldn't be prouder.