Annette Gross

Reflections from a PFLAG mom

Filed By Annette Gross | June 15, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement

I told myself I would be good this year. I told myself I wouldn't look. PFLAGBig3.jpgOkay, I admit, I did peek a little bit - but I couldn't help it. I was marching with PFLAG in the Parade, and as we rounded the corner I saw them - the nasty signs held by scared and mean-spirited people - "God Hates Perverts." But I did something different this year. I smiled at them and waved. I wanted them to know that we don't have hatred in our hearts. I wanted them to know that we represent loving and committed families.

It seemed to me that this year's Indy Pride Parade and Festival was attended by more people than ever before. The beautiful weather brought out so many people - after all the rain we've had folks just wanted to get out and enjoy the sunshine. As I sat at the PFLAG booth, I also had an opportunity to reflect on what Pride means to me.

I saw people coming together, in a safe place where they could be free to express themselves. I saw girls holding other girls' hands without fear of reprisal. Boys walked arm in arm and felt safe. People were dressed up in all sorts of outfits - sure, some were extreme, but it was the one day of the year when they felt free to be who they wanted to be. Some of us "old folks" may not have approved of some of their costumes - but most of it was all in good fun.

I also saw families coming together. Families of many different configurations. Lots of baby carriages and lots of dogs. I enjoyed looking at the dogs' costumes. You might even say it was a "family friendly" festival. I saw groups of people sitting on the grass with lawn chairs and coolers. A big family picnic. I saw families who under difficult circumstances work to keep themselves intact.

So I see Pride as a place where people of all kinds can come together, be themselves and know they feel safe. It's kind of sad to realize that there is only one day a year in Indianapolis when this can occur. That GLBT people need a ring of policemen around the park to ensure their safety. Where is their safety the other 364 days of the year? Why can't they walk down the streets of Indy holding hands and not be afraid the rest of the year? As I sat at the PFLAG booth, handing out rainbow leis, buttons and bumper stickers to these committed families, I realized that it is our job to work the other 364 days by speaking to our legislators, to our straight allies and everyone else we know to bring this message home - ALL families count and we must do everything we can to ensure their continuity. See you next year at Pride!!!!

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You know what I always look for at the Pride parade? Annette proudly leading the PFLAG contingent down the route. Every year she leis me right there in the street. *grins*