If there wasn’t the first Pride, we would still be deep in the closet.
With my first girlfriend every evening we were saying goodbye at one small, hidden crossroad. One evening, while we were hugging goodbye, she said: “Why are you hugging me and pushing me away at the same time?” These words are still echoing in my mind often when I think how fear is programming our behavior in a way that every sound, every movement makes us jump like scared rabbits, as we were caught in trouble, without being guilty.
The first kiss with my current girlfriend was in the nature, on a bench. It was tremulous and long-awaited kiss, one of those kisses that determine your life from now on. When we were leaving, holding hands for the first time, I saw how a ball was flying towards us. I stopped and kicked the ball back to the guys who were playing nearby, not realizing the subtext until they invited us to “join them” with playful smiles.
When we moved in together the first evening we went grocery shopping. In front of the local store there was a group of skinheads, one of them was wearing t-shirt with a huge swastika on it. I panicked and couldn’t sleep the whole night wondering: am I going to see these people every day? On the next morning we went for a walk and she said: “maybe it’s a good idea not to hold hands”. I didn’t argue.
I go to Pride because I want us to embrace each other without pushing each other away.
I go to Pride because I don’t want our first times to be marked by swastikas and skinhead’s shoes.
I go to Pride because I can’t count on my fingers how many of my friends have being attacked on the street.
I go to Pride because, even after years of LGBTI activism, the shame, forced on me by the society is still not completely gone.
I go to Pride because this is the only day of the year when I see my gay brothers holding hands on the street, not hiding in a bar.
I go to Pride because there is no other day when Sofia is that colorful and the smile sticks on my face the whole time.
I go to Pride because this is one of the few occasions when we have the opportunity to speak up that publicly.
I go because when I heard about the first Pride I felt ashamed and afraid. I wished they didn’t organize it so I wouldn’t have to listen all the offenses from the TV. I didn’t want us to be “on display”. Maybe you feel the same way now? But this will change, I promise! If there wasn’t the first Pride, we would still be deep in the closet.