The gray Seattle clouds gave way to brilliant blue skies on the day of my first Pride Parade ever just a few days ago on June 30th, 2024. I have been waiting for this day for so long. It seems fitting that my first pride parade would be in Seattle, as this is where things started changing for me and now, I’ve come full circle. As a child I was taught it was a sin to be queer. My dad came out as gay when I was eleven years old. He was taught it was a sin too and harbored internalized homophobia all his life.

In college, I began to wrestle with my faith and began wondering, Is it really a sin to be gay?

Once I moved to Seattle for graduate school, I continued the journey of trying to figure out what I believed.

A good friend started her own journey of coming out. We were both Christians and wrestled together with our beliefs. In her honesty, I too found the courage to admit where I harbored judgement and together, we supported each other.

I exited the Monorail station with my family and walked the short two blocks to the parade route. I was overcome with emotion with each passing rainbow. My mind flooded with thoughts as my heart was about to burst. Gratitude, such goosebump rousing gratitude felt down deep in my soul, began rising in my stomach all the way to my throat. I held back the tears even though I wanted to fall to my knees and weep. I could not believe I was finally here.

All the years of shame for having a gay dad in the 90’s came forth. Then all the thoughts of how long I had been judgmental and the all the people I had hurt in the process. Then the names of so many queer friends who had gone before me and lived out openly who they were. Then reality began to sink in. I get to be here at this parade with my gay son while I’m wearing my “Proud Mom” rainbow shirt in all it’s glory. Dad, I know you are looking down above weeping with me. Tears of joy, forgiveness, reparation, reclamation, and liberation stream down my face. Then more reality sets in. I also get to be at this celebration with my queer friend from college. Twenty-five years later we are still friends. I get to celebrate fully in every way who she is. I stand in solidarity with her and her wife and kids for the family they have become. And I said out loud, they are beautiful.  

I’m weeping again as I’m standing next to my in-laws who have come with us to show their support. They are also new to the Pride atmosphere. I hoop and holler as loud as I can, and I feel alive. So alive and proud. Proud to be my son’s mom. Proud to be my dad’s daughter.

The atmosphere is electrifying as the proud Dykes on Bikes roar by on their motorcycles. They are beaming. And I think to myself, finally, finally so many of this day feel the freedom to be themselves. Isn’t that what we all want deep down?

Then the tears come once more as those in the original Seattle Pride Parade back in 1974 walk by. I am acutely aware I am standing on holy ground in their presence. I feel the need to sit down with each one to hear their stories and to say thank you. Thank you for all the work you have done on behalf of others to make a way for us to celebrate you today. And celebrate we will.

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