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Sunday, August 4, 2013


Being just on the tail end of Pride celebrations in our region, It seems I am again faced with the same questions I ask myself every year. Is Pride still relevant or necessary? What exactly are we celebrating anyway?  If you look back on my blog there will be evidence of my past questionings. Every year also, it seems,  I find an answer.
This year, my answer came to me in the  most unexpected form, my seven year old niece. She is a wonderful reminder of one of the reasons why Pride is still important.
She arrived  for her recent visit to PEI with a great bit of enthusiasm and luggage to match. The first thing I  did was show her her room, she and I still a little shy with each other because I had not seen her for a long while.  We set her up in my partner’s office which aside from some prayer flags above her window and some family pictures on a shelf above her desk is quite “officy”.  Our first conversation went as follows as she set up what would be her new surroundings for the next 5 days.
7 year old: Do you like rainbows?

Me: Yeah, I like rainbows.

7 year old: Does Mary like rainbows?

Me: Yes, Mary likes them too.
(At this point I look around the room for evidence of rainbows. I see none, not one, and since I do not spend much time with 7 year old people it does not occur to me just yet that we might not be discussing rainbows at all).

7 year old: Do you and Mary like rainbows a lot?             
( I am  starting to get it ,and suddenly I  am feeling very  hot and stressed because I am in no way feeling equipped to have a conversation about Pride and rainbows etc…with a 7 year old whose parents and I have not  had any kind of conversation  with about this topic. It all happened so fast.)

Me:  (Secretly hoping we are, in fact, discussing rainbows from the sky and nothing else) “Yes, we both like them; they are pretty, and colourful and they make people happy because it means there is sunshine. (I say this in my best amateur “talking to a seven year old” voice).

7 year old: (Clearly not satisfied with my response, tries another angle confirming my fear, this conversation is not at all about "rainbows") “Are you and Mary married?”

Me: “Omm, no, we are not married”, I say, but not wanting to lie to her, I add “but we are like married.”
(This seemed to be an okay answer, but I knew by her questioning look that she was not entirely sure what I meant, so I continued.) “Well, you know how Mommy and Daddy sometimes call each other husband and wife? Well, it’s kind of like that. (I struggle with my words as she looks at me expectantly with her big brown eyes.) “Mary and I call each other partner; she calls me her partner and I call her my partner.” 

I  brace myself for where this  question might lead, but to  my  surprise she looked completely  satisfied with this response, like it all of suddenly made sense to her. She raised her little arms in the air in relief for having finally reached an answer to her “rainbow” question. She looked right at me...

 7 year old: “Oh, so you're gay?” She said all mattter of fact like.

Me: (Now even though this is a word I  do not use much in reference to myself, I felt it  fit just  right here). “Yes, yes, I am”.  I confirm as she continues to unpack her suitcase, moving on to the next subject completely uninterested in any further info on rainbows etc….

7 year old: Can I open this now? She says in a reference to some to some fun tongue tattoos we had put in a gift basket on her bed.  

Me: “Yes, of course.”

Now, while this seemed a minor conversation for her. I was left enlightened and amazed at her attitude, like us being “gay” was not and should not be a big deal. And for me it normally is not, but adding a 7 year old to the mix made me a little more cautious for lack of a better word here. Not sure what else I expected, but it was so sweet. I believe she merely needed confirmation...from me. The subject never came up again until later when I brought out my rainbow flag to show her and briefly tell her about the meaning of each of the colours.

The next day, she promptly found her bracelet making kit and made me a rainbow bracelet.

I shall treasure it and that moment when she and I both had a moment of clarity. 

So, this year I realize Pride is relevant because the visibility of "rainbow" celebrations everywhere has gotten us to the  point where a seven year old (Who will grow up and form part of the future adult community)  makes me feel comfortable by saying, “Oh, so you're gay?” (like god, why didn't ya just say so kind of tone) but she can start her conversation by asking me if I like rainbows. Yes, I like rainbows  and you, Miss Victoria, A LOT!! 


in the west I am the dragon said...

a colourful story miss za
nice to hear of you, yours
hope you are having a most satisfying summertime

Diana said...

Beautiful and endearing post 'Za...what a wonderful piece to wake up to this morning! I think until the whole world "gets it" like Victoria there is still a need for Pride and opportunity to educate that goes with it. D :) ox

Anonymous said...

Great reflection, Liza. I share your ambivalence about the whole marching/ shaking it in the street, late night techno tracks, and men dressing up as caricatures of women, PRIDE events. Becoming a mother has made me more committed to the importance of publicly declaring Pride - for myself, for Bella, and for everyone at some point on the LGBTQ spectrum! And increasing, I am reminded that we can lose the ground that has been gained very easily.