Pride is a funny concept, with both positive and negative connotations. It goeth before a fall. It makes a combustible pairing with prejudice. The Marines, though few, lay claim to it. Pride can be overweening. It can blind us to the needs of others. But it can also remind us of what is important in life: our children, our families, our identities.
Personally, I’m proud I can make it through a work day, arrive home in time for my son’s school bus, pry him away from video games and on to homework, throw in a load of laundry (including the dress shirt said son needs for his band concert and that has somehow ended up in a heap on his closet floor), do a few more hours of work myself, and get dinner on the table for the family.
You know: getting through an average day like many parents. Still, even though it’s routine, we shouldn’t take it for granted. What better time than Pride (which begins right between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) to be proud of our domestic and parental accomplishments as well as our LGBT identities?
What better time than the end of the school year, too, to remind us to be proud of our children, not just for their academic accomplishments, but also for navigating the sometimes tricky social waterways of school, friendships, and extracurricular activities? I am proud of my son all the time, but find that June, with its sense of another year completed, is a good time to reflect on that pride.
I hope my pride conveys simply that I am happy for him whenever he perseveres or feels, himself, a sense of accomplishment. Pride can, however, segue into pushiness, with parents driving their kids to excel—in school, in sports, in music or other arts—in a stressful, unhealthy way.
As LGBT parents, we also have to curb our pride before it makes us pressure our kids to be perfect models of healthy, well-adjusted children who don’t reflect badly upon LGBT parents. That’s unrealistic and unnecessary.
Looking to the wider world, will our Pride go before a fall when the Supreme Court rules on marriage equality this month? No. I am cautiously optimistic that the court will do the right thing. Even if they don’t, I think the trend of public opinion is such that it is only a matter of time before we have marriage equality one way (judicial ruling) or another (legislative action).
And if they do rule in favor of equality, I am hopeful that enough LGBT advocates realize that marriage is not everything, that we still have goals yet to be gained like equal parental recognition, employment nondiscrimination, and transgender equality. We can be proud of our progress and still know there is more to do.
Now that I’ve written that paragraph, I hesitate, suddenly not all that confident of the outcome. The court could decide that same-sex couples in any part of the U.S. can marry; it could take an intermediate position that says states must at a minimum recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed elsewhere; or it could say we have no guaranteed rights to either.
Which brings us to pride in our country. Will I still be proud to be American if our Supreme Court rules against equality? Yes. I won’t be proud of the justices who chose to do so, but I will still be proud to be part of a nation that has people in it like James Obergefell, the lead plaintiff, fighting to be on the death certificate of his spouse, who died from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
I will be proud of plaintiffs April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who first went to court not to marry, but to secure adoption rights to their children. I will be proud of the many other plaintiff couples, mostly parents, who have dealt not only with the hassle of a court case, but the inevitable media intrusion upon their lives that such a high-profile case brings with it.
I will also be proud that our country has progressed to the point of debating a right like marriage, rather than the legality of simply being LGBT. I will be proud that our State Department has been working to expand basic human rights in countries where it is still a crime to exist as an LGBT person.
I will be proud of all the progress we have made here at home, sometimes one family at a time, to secure our bonds and provide our children with protection and stability. I will be proud of each and every LGBT person, their children, and allies who have spoken out during their everyday lives, at soccer games and grocery shopping, to be visible or correct a misconception about LGBT people.
I will remain proud of my son, growing up to be a responsible citizen of this country and learning that while change may be slow, it can and does happen by the effort of the people.
Democracy, like pride, has its good sides and its weaker moments. Maybe I’m just fundamentally an optimist, though, because I do believe in the end, we’re better with them than without. That moral arc of the universe keeps on bending—and this month, it looks like a rainbow. Happy Pride to you and your families!
Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.