Pride without the parade

by Jillian Drinnon
The Rural Gay Columnist

Pride month is here, and for my fellow country gays and me, it is a celebration that unfolds with a lot less bang than our big city counterparts. By no means does this imply that we can’t celebrate Pride with exuberance, there might just be fewer parades and a little less glitter!

If we gather our communities, we can party just as much as the city-folk out there. It is not only fun, but it is especially important for us to be vocal and present this month. In small, conservative towns, it can feel like you are the only queer person in a 45-mile radius. Why not use June as an opportunity for us queer ladies, men, and non-binary folks to find each other?

Though there might not be a big celebration dripping with fabulous drag queens, Pride month is a chance for us to celebrate who we are, who has suffered for us, and for us to have a conversation with our straight and cis counterparts. None of those things are limited by population. I would argue that it is especially important for those of us in small communities to speak out this month, as it is incredibly easy to feel invisible.

It is undeniable that in an already small town, finding an LGBTQ+ community is difficult. Our search for community is especially true for those of us who live in very conservative places. For those of us who are in a safe enough position to be out, let us use that freedom to be easily seen. Of course, we aren’t limited to being loud and proud during June, but when it is kind of scary to be gay in a community, Pride can give us an extra push to start a conversation.

There is a lot of power in simply gathering together with both queer and straight people to celebrate and honor LGBTQ+ history. Having conversations and teaching each other about the world and our personal experiences don’t have to be glum, nor does it have to be lame. With enough streamers and snacks, any Pride party, no matter the size, can be just as impactful, powerful and rad.

Aside from honoring those who have lived and died for the betterment of the LGBTQIA+ family, it is so special to celebrate irreverently the part of ourselves many of us thought would only bring heartbreak. Just because we might live in a small place doesn’t mean we should miss out on the fun.

Even though there might not be a parade in our small towns, that doesn’t mean we can’t party. Let’s hang those Pride flags in our windows, let us wear our rainbows, let us remember our struggle and the pain of those before us but let us also celebrate.

Let’s gather our small communities because it is amazing to hear everyone’s stories and life experiences. It is spectacular to learn, to listen, to teach, and to grow with everyone around us and that will never be limited to the city.

More about events surrounding OKC Pride 2019:
This is our story. This is our city. This is our Pride
Celebrate unity and inclusion with Urban Pride
Oklahoma City Pride Alliance announces the return of Family Zone
How we got here: OKC Pride features “Legends & Rebels” in 2019 theme
Take the test and access PrEP during OKC Pride
OKC area welcoming churches to host special Pride service
"Faces of Pride" to premier at historic LGBTQ+ club
OKC Pride, Inc and OKC Pride Alliance join forces
2019 Pride parade in OKC moves to Saturday

Copyright The Gayly. 6/17/2019 @ 7:00 a.m. CST.