In 1995 a momentous event occurred. Pride. Gay Pride, London. This momentous event had happened many times before – to other people – but for me it was my first Gay Pride ever and I will forever remember it. To tell you why I will forever remember it I need to tell you the story….. the story of my first Gay Pride (and there is a reason I am repeating these positive statements)…
I am from a small town in the county of Cheshire in England. Cheshire is nice as it goes with rolling hills and flat fields filled with cattle, sheep and rape: yellow flowers that cover the ground like colourful kisses. The down side of this particular part of Cheshire (which I won’t name) is that they suffer an incurable condition called ‘Small Town Mentality’. I was beaten up on a regular basis by the local schoolyard bullies and terrified yobs taking their own internalised homophobia out on me, a camp-as-tits-faggot (I can use that term – I am one). It was a hell-hole for a sexually confused gay guy who didn’t really know fully that he was gay.
And when I say ‘he’ I of course mean me. Anyhows….
Fast forward from the schoolyard and into my 21st year on planet gay. I was still living in the small town in Cheshire but regularly travelled to Liverpool, Manchester and London. The morning of Gay Pride 1995 arrived and as my friends and I travelled on the train from a suburb of London into the main stations on the tube line something started to happen. The tube and the stations started to fill with people that I can only describe as – Homos. Everyone, it seemed, were as ‘bent as a three bob note’ as my Gran used to say. I started to feel like I belonged. The commuters seemed unfazed by this chorus of ‘We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it! … We’re here, we’re queer, get over it!’ and I started to cry. I sit in between my two female friends, Sandra and Stephanie, and with all three of us being from this small town in Cheshire, we become overwhelmed by this, this, this – love.
Love on the underground. Love and acceptance on the tube. Love and respect in London. In London, at Gay Pride, in 1995 – love.
I can’t tell you enough or scream it in sufficient decibels to let you know that on that day, in that hour and during that minute just sitting on the tube – just how loved I felt. Loved by gays parading up and down the tube car blowing their whistles and flouncing their feather boas. The lesbians chanting ‘We love Pride!’, the Trannies pouting and the commuters, well, being commuters. A surreal culture shock as the train took us at break-neck speed from small town mentality to how life was supposed to be.
Then something happened.
As we disembarked the train and joined the thousands of revellers on the steep stairways that led up to street level, this immense feeling within was indescribable. It grew beyond my body and showed me how life is when you are loved and respected. We climbed the steps and entered the party at I think King’s Cross tube station. My friends and I stood aside the crowds for a while, three frightened fishes out of suburbia, catching our breath.
And then it rained.
As the rain hit my face I could see, simultaneously the light and colour of the gay parade that was all around us by this point and the grey sky above that threw the tears of God to Earth.
My first thought was:
‘God’s punishing us’.
I want you to really feel that: God is punishing us.
This happened twenty years ago and I am crying recalling this now. The tears drip from my cheeks and onto the keyboard as I re-connect with those feelings – That God hates us. Does He?
Do you see how strong this conditioning is? Can you relate to just how intense ‘internalised homophobia’ can be and how long it can last for? Let me flip that on its head…. I’m good at that:
God is NOT punishing us. God is NOT punishing you, dear reader, dearest friend:
GOD LOVES YOU (whoever you are and however you imagine God/Divine/Higher Being to be).
Why, for the love of God – was my first thought ‘God’s punishing us’ when it began to rain, quite literally, on the parade? I will tell you why:
Because I was raised in a very strict Church of England household and I was taught, repeatedly over the years – that being Gay is BAD.
This process of repeated learning (I just made a phrase up, roll with it) can have devastating results.
Another word for ‘repeated learning’ is – Brainwashing. A further word is: Conditioning. You can make it a two word special if you like – Conditioned Bullshit.
How deeply saddening that this delicate 21 year old after finally discovering his community, his true identity – had to be cruelly ripped from the hands of his saviours (Gay Pride) and torn to shreds by his Saviour (God).
Of course this is not the case, not at all. God loves everyone – everyone. It really is as simple as that and I am not even going to commit another word to it except to say…
For every negative thought you have about yourself – whether it be related to Religion or not (and if it’s negative it will probably be connected to your Religious conditioning in some way…) – I want you to do this for me:
Say TEN positive things about yourself.
Do it. Do it now: ‘I am a human being of dignity and worth’ ‘I love who I am’ ‘I am worthy’ ‘I am visible’ ‘I matter’ ‘I exist’ ‘I love therefore I am’ ‘I am special’ … ‘#EnterYourFabulousStatementHere#’ ‘#KeepGoingUntilYouReachTEN!#’
My God people, my dear dear readers and you lovely poofs, dykes, Trannies, faggots and everyone in-between – I Love you. So Much. I hope you can feel it.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Have an amazing experience or tips you like to share on SimplySxy? Drop us an email at editorial@SimplySxy.com!