By Tim Calton
What does Pride month mean to you and how has it changed for you over the years?
Pride for me is a time of reflection and love. I remember my first pride parade that I was a part of. Decorating and riding the float and having a good time with my friends. Unity, that was everything. If you were feeling alone in the world then Pride month made you feel loved and accepted. And then there were the parties....I can't talk about those...LOL. There is also sadness for all of the friends lost during the 90's AIDS Epidemic. I remember their names and faces like it was yesterday and I can't help but wonder what they would have made of their lives if they had survived.
How has coming out shaped your life and/or your identity?
For someone who grew up Methodist and being preached fire and brimstone it was hard to come out. I knew from the age of 5 that I was not like the other boys which made me isolate. I will spare you my teen years. After a doomed marriage I went to my first nightclub. I felt like I found my people and there was no turning back. There was love and acceptance that was given to me that I still have to this day from the friendships I made. They are my superpower.
Is there anything you wish you could say to those who strive to be effective LGBTQ+ allies?
Learn your history. It is important that moving forward we do not forget our past. The acceptance you have today is because of the fight and persecution of those that came before. I know..history is boring but if you dig a little you will find the most fascinating characters that will inspire you to be the best ally you can.