For those of you who are new to my blog, I’m a writer, and I write love stories. I’m a sap. I love romance. I love love. I love it. I can’t get enough. I live it in my own real life and spend all my free time making up love stories starring imaginary friends I made up in my own head. And that’s why, even though I’m heteroromantic and happily in a heteronormative marriage to J (a man…and I’m a woman)…Pride is important to me.
I have a lot of friends in the LGBT+ community whom I love dearly, and I’m on the asexual spectrum myself, so it’s not the ONLY reason Pride is important to me. But let me try to explain myself.
There’s the obvious reason…that I love love in all its forms. I think everyone who desires romantic love should be able to have it with the consenting partner(s) of their choice (kids can’t consent…unconscious people can’t consent…animals can’t consent…SOBER AWARE HUMAN ADULTS CAN…see why consent is such a big deal with romance? I hope so…). Because romantic love is really great. It’s not the greatEST, necessarily, but it IS great. And I also think everyone should have the love of family and friendship available to them, regardless of who they do or don’t romantically love. Because everyone needs some kind of love and love in all its forms IS the greatest.
But a more complex reason…one that’s tied to my anxiety and to being a writer for me…is…well…it’s like this…
I’m going to a Pride Event today, as an ally…as support…for young people whose families have rejected them because of their LGBT+ identity, whatever that is. Like…a surrogate parental figure. I’ll be your Pretend Supportive Mom. That kind of a thing. But big events are not my normal milieu, as I’m sure many of you could easily guess. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like being touched normally. I don’t like going out to be around people I don’t know, even in small doses, very much. And I don’t like confrontation…and I live in a part of the US where Pride is still an overt, potentially hostile confrontation for a lot of people. I have social anxiety that people who know and love me recognize. So yesterday, my best friend asked me if I was nervous about going to Pride. I am. But I’m nervous going to the grocery store on a random Wednesday afternoon. Why this question matters to me…why she asked it…is because she knows my remedy for Crowd Nerves and Social Anxiety Nerves and Stranger Nerves and Confrontation Nerves and Going Out Nerves. It’s holding J’s hand.
And he’s not going with me today…he’s staying home watching The Boy (The Boy does not take well to super hot heat, and an outdoor event in 90+ degrees Fahrenheit plus 70+% humidity is asking for trouble…but J and The Boy are both supportive allies too…if Pride Month was November, they’d be IN).
Anyway…holding J’s hand calms anxiety for me often. I write about holding hands as an intimate action in *every* romantic story I’ve ever written. It’s played off a lot as juvenile or casual in a lot of other romantic fiction, but it’s always been a big deal to me. It’s an act of affection, but also an important expression of security and reassurance. I mean, I’m going to be alright today without J’s hand to hold, but I prefer when I’m feeling nervous and keyed up for any reason to hold J’s hand. And I am *privileged* that this is okay for me to do, without fear or reservation, wherever we are. If we’re at a restaurant table, I can hold J’s hand. If we’re standing in line at an amusement park…walking through the grocery store…in church…at my parents’ house…meeting new people for the first time…walking through a huge crowd of strangers in a totally unfamiliar place…I can hold J’s hand. And I don’t have to ever worry about getting a dirty look or being whispered about or not being served at a business…everyone will sell me a cake or some flowers or a car or *pick me up on public transit or a ride service* or *treat my illness or my son’s* or *teach my son in school* even if I am flagrantly and constantly holding J’s hand in front of them all the time. My LGBT+ friends? They aren’t that lucky.
So that’s why I’m going to Pride. That’s why it’s important to me. I want everyone’s family to accept them and who they love, and until that’s true, I’ll be there for them as a substitute. I want to write love stories for everyone, because everyone needs and deserves love, and I’ll go to Pride as an ally and I’ll do my best to write varied love stories with sensitivity and compassion and honor until that video is no longer portraying a common occurrence. I can’t imagine how infinitely much harder my life would be without J’s hand to hold. Everyone needs a hand to hold, without fear or reservation.