photo credits:Abby Beckley Cobb [Pride flag], Allen Wallace [Pride photos] and Sheryl McAlister [Bradacs family photo]
Carlos and I attended SC Pride in Columbia this week. We’ve attended Prides before, everywhere from Key West to Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, and even here in Columbia twice. I’ve attended Pride in Sacramento and San Francisco while living in California.
But this time we attended Pride as part of a group with an agenda; The Will of the People Fund had a tent along Main Street to promote our cause: to help defray the non-attorney costs of the lawsuit filed by Katie Bradacs and her wife, Tracie Goodwin-Bradacs, to have the state of South Carolina recognize their marriage.
And Katie and Tracie were the Grand Marshalls in the parade, and spoke at Pride, as did Carrie Warner, one of the attorneys — along with John Nichols — who have taken their case pro bono because, well, it’s the right thing to do.
People, straight people, the not-so-gay-friendly straight people, always ask why “Pride”? What’s there to be proud of? If being gay is normal and y’all want the same rights as everyone else, why Pride? My usual answer is this:
We’re not proud to be gay, because if we’re born that way, then it’s just part of who we are, like eye color, hair color, and since we don’t have Tall White Guy with Blue Eyes Pride, then what have I got to be proud of? Well, it’s this: I am proud to be living my life as an openly gay man, saying quite clearly and loudly, and yes, proudly, that I won’t hide any more, that I won’t be closeted any more, that I won’t be told that my life, the man I love, our relationship, is somehow less than yours.
I am proud to stand up, be counted, be equal; that’s Pride.
And what a Pride it was; a huge crowd overflowing the streets of Columbia — Main Street was closed so there were all kinds of vendors and LGBT-friendly businesses and causes along the way; Some Dudes Marry Dudes, Get Over It t-shirts; petitions asking Hillary to run booths; Carlos bought a kilt at the Out of Bounds tent — his paternal grandfather was an Englishman and since England is just a hop, skip and a jump from England, well, kilt.
Lesbian couples each wearing matching I’m With Her shirts; gay men in Whore t’s; some guys in underwear, some women in leather, some folks looking like they’re just out for an afternoon stroll.
That was Pride, too; all the different kinds of people we saw, and spoke to, and cajoled into coming to The Will of the People Fund tent to donate to the cause, to sign our mailing list, to hear the story of who we are and why we fight, to just say Hello. We raised a nice chunk of change, and really spread the word. The Facebook page boomed with new ‘Likes’ and, as of yesterday, we were able to add a ‘Donate’ button to the page; that’s tight, head over to Facebook, look for The Will of the People Fund page … like us … and if you can, click the Donate Social button to send a little financial support to the family for whom we are fighting for and working for and supporting.
And speaking of the family, of Katie and Tracie and their three children, this is one of the best pictures from SC Pride …
... the family, along with Tracie's niece, and Carrie Warner, standing in front of the anti-LGBT protesters, saying We’re a family, and we want to be treated as such, and seen as such. I find it funny, you know, seeing the Bradacs family, all smiles, surrounded by people using their faith as a weapon. It won’t work because Love always wins.
And that makes me proud, too.