Volunteering at Indy Pride

Gary and I volunteered at Indy Pride today, doing a shift at the SGI-USA (a gay-friendly Buddhist organization) booth and also a shift at the Indiana Youth Group (the only state-wide organization focused on supporting LGBTQ youth) booth. We did the last shift there at IYG, so we helped tear down afterwards.

Large events like this pose some challenges for me:

I have some mild face-blindness (Thank you Oliver Sacks for my now having a name for what I thought was just me — Prosopagnosia)  so people often will recognize me but I will have to embarrassingly ask “Who are you?”

My spatial-directional sense is frequently crappy, so I often get disoriented, having to repeatedly hunt for the same booth.

I dislike crowds and the nature of this event means a large crowd is a good thing.

And lastly I’m not a very social person (which shouldn’t be taken for anti-social, which is a completely different thing (I hope)).

But nevertheless, I feel compelled to attend the event, work the event, and otherwise show my pride through action. For pride is not something static, but a way of conduct as a whole. As Aristotle put it, it is the “crown of the virtues” and rightly so. The Christian idea of it being a sin wrongly conflates it with arrogance, when really it is better understood as sister to worth.

For we should all feel a value in ourselves that allows us to be ourselves. As one of the T-shirts at the event proclaimed: Be Who You Are.

A high school boy came over to the IYG booth. He said he was so glad there was an organization like IYG and he’s trying to get the word out to his friends about it. For a lot of them are gay, but the school they attend is private and the kids are forced to be closeted. He is trying to start a related group at his school, but he has to be discreet and call it something else, for in the administration’s eyes the kids have no fundamental right to be who they are.

Pride is wanting to reclaim ourselves from those who would try to tell us we must be molded into their image. Pride is developing the ability to correctly point out to any number of arrogant fucks that it is they who have no fundamental right to tell us who we are.

Pride in the current age has to be more than: I’m here, I’m queer, get used  to it.

It needs to be: You see, I’m me, and frankly I don’t have time for you to get used to it, so you better get out of my way. I am here, I am queer and I am here to stay.