One of the most frequently asked questions about pride events is why do they exist, what purpose do they serve? We’ll circle back to that in just a few minutes.

Why can’t you just act normal? Hollywood is brainwashing our children o be gay, have you seen TV lately? I swear, every show has one of them in it. And equality! They already have more rights than everyone else, how much more equal do they want? Do you have AIDS, I just, had to ask. Your not gonna like, hit on me are or nothing are you? 

He-she-it, whatever in the hell that thing is. I’m not calling that thing a her, I don’t care what anyone says. Could you imagine if we took to the streets of Seattle with a straight pride event, man they’d go nuts, hypocrites if you ask me. Of course you didn’t choose this for yourself, who would choose to be like you? You probably wouldn’t be such a target for predators if you would just act normal, i mean, you kinda brought this on yourself.

Any of that sound familiar? Do I have your attention now? I imagine that similar conversations took place around Chinese immigrants in the 18 and early 1900’s, and with native Americans before them. Then again with African Americans in the 50’s and 60’s. Don’t they have their own neighborhoods, their own schools, their own restaurants. Then there’s women’s rights. Everyone knows that homosexuality is caused because women are taking men’s roles in society, its unnatural! Emasculating men, no wonder they turn into broads.

Raise your hands if you’ve heard statements like these recently.

That’s the reason were here, that’s why pride exists. Everyone of the statements I just spoke were comments I’ve heard directly over the last 12 months. Since our last Pride event. Scientists are still searching for a cure for us, like a disease or defect. We are still abnormal. Some are still trying to eradicate us, whether through prayer, cure, or death. The message behind any of it couldn’t be clearer.

I’ve heard that some view us as a plague. You know, I thought about that and, OK, I can see that. We’re a plague that transforms prison visit rooms into loving, caring, and rehabilitative community centers, like this one right here, right now today. Were a plague that accomplishes the impossible, look around you, look at what we’ve accomplished. Were a plague on every continent, in every country, even the ones that kill us.

I’ve heard that some see us as a curse. Well, that’s because we are, to them. Were a curse that illuminates their hearts exposing the insecurities and fears within. Were a curse that demands they look us in the eye because that glossy image they see looking back at them, the one they loathe, that’s their own reflection forcing them to see their bigotry for what it truly is. I’ll be that curse any day, truth.

Some want us silenced, some need us silenced. And they should. We are the sound of justice singing so loud, the entire world hears us. We are the voice constantly reminding them that their actions, their decisions, effect actual people. Real human beings. Some incredible ones at that.

Yes, some view us as plagues or curses. Yes, some want us silenced. But they’re the minority. The rest of the world is stepping right alongside of us united against the injustices of intolerance. I have love and pride for our community, I love you guys. When I’m around you, I’m the very best me, I’m never happier. But my world, and yours too, goes beyond the borders of LGBT, it goes beyond American pride, it goes beyond border walls and fences, beyond governments, beyond labels, it goes beyond our mistakes, it goes beyond us.

Don’t stand for division. Don’t stand for it. Don’t stand for injustices, for suffering, for victimization. Don’t stand for maybe someday. No! You stand, you stand for today, for right here and right now, stand up! Stand up for there is no equality until there is all equality. Stand up! Stand up for the impossible is entirely possible. Stand for us, as mankind, not us the island.

Step beyond your borders and have pride in those around you, even and especially if they don’t look like you. Borders are divisions and divisions are only good for one purpose, dividing. I promise you, change where you send your pride, and you have my word, you’ll change the world.

My name is Jeff and I hope I’ve made you, and you, and especially you proud. Because it matters to me, it matters. Thank you.