Why I Love Pride Week

June 9, 2016 By Tom

KIRIfrZm_400x400It’s Pride Week in Indianapolis, and that means one of my favorite weekends of the year here in this great city.

What I love about Pride Week is that here in Indy, it’s not about “letting this be the one week a year where you can be yourself”…it’s about highlighting that in Indy, we celebrate everyone being who they are throughout the year. This week is just a reason to have a fabulous party.

I don’t want to be an advocate for equality, because it means we need advocates for equality. It absolutely breaks my heart that in 2016, Pride Week goes hand in hand with discussions for equality. I find it infuriating that equality has to be politicized on both sides of the aisle and that those in power have used their desire to create an unequal system for the entirety of society.

I’m straight. Big deal. I have family that are gay. Big deal.

I’ve had the ability to be a vocal supporter against the HJR-3 and RFRA efforts, in fact, Nine13 was one of the first non arts nonprofits that took a corporate stance against both items in the last two years (read more here and here). I’ve been fortunate to utilize the platform that my professional career has given me to stand in unison with many other Hoosiers demanding equality and hoping that some day, we don’t need to fight the fight at all—it will just be common sense.

I spotted what has become one of my favorite shirts of all time last year at Pride, “Some dudes marry other dudes, get over it”….and I can’t think of a more simple description that captures my vision of equality for all.

A memory I have from last summer was driving up to Chicago for a Cubs game with Denver. They had just found tumors in her brain, and we were mentally preparing for full brain radiation. We decided to get out of town for the day and watch the Cubs/Dodgers play ball, see my folks for dinner, and enjoy Chicago living. On the way up, we listened to the radio as the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling was read down from the Supreme Court. I can distinctly envision seeing the signage for Crown Point as we heard the ruling sided with the fundamental right to marry for ALL couples. I remember looking over at Denver, with tears rolling down my cheeks, and seeing Denver with the same tears. We understood what it meant for our generation, for our family, for our friends, we understood that we were listening to history happen in the moment.

This weekend, I’ll be out and about on Mass Ave, at Pride Fest, at Big Gay Brunch supporting IndyHub. But more importantly, I’ll be out there with friends—people of all types and backgrounds and personalities—but most importantly, my friends.

No matter who you are, who you love, what you want, just remember, Indy Welcomes All, and I’m damn proud of that.