On Scene with Bill Wilson: Reflections on Pride

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Self – Portrait in Reflection

GLBT Pride weekend was one I will never forget. There was so much history on view. I had the opportunity to acknowledge and thank some the people who blazed the path for me to follow. Perhaps it was a combination of getting older and the advances that the GLBT community has achieved in the past several years, but I feel like I’ve been witness to a completion of a cycle. One that I never thought I would live to see.

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 Lea DeLaria and Tom Ammiano on Twin Peaks.

The fun started Saturday morning at the Pink Triangle ceremony on Twin Peaks. Lea DeLaria had been asked to read the history of the Pink Triangle. She did that with solemnity that befitted the occasion and reminded us that the pink triangle was not just an icon from the past, but a reminder of where hatred and bigotry can lead. It was a very poignant moment. When Lea found out before the ceremony began that Tom Ammiano was one of the speakers she asked if she could do his introduction. I can’t begin to do justice to the ensuing tribute to Tom. Suffice to say that Lea was Lea at her best and Tom was Tom at his best and everyone had a good laugh and more.

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 Felicia Elizondo (Compton Cafeteria survivor) and Miss Major Griffin-Gracey (Stonewall survivor).

Donna Sachet and Gary Virginia’s Pride Brunch to benefit the Positive Resource Center on Saturday always includes the opportunity to hear from the Community Grand Marshals and the celebrities being honored that year. This year there were two honorees that stuck out in my mind. Felica Elizonda was a participant in the Compton Cafeteria riots that preceded Stonewall by three years.  Also honored was Miss Major Griffin-Gracey. She participated in the Stonewall riots. Afterwards as I was leaving they were sitting together. I asked if I could take their picture. I told them that I was thrilled to have the opportunity to photograph them because I admired their courage in standing up and not taking it. Miss Major said something about me being younger. I interrupted and said, “I was born in 1950. I would have been 19 at Stonewall, but I was so deeply in denial that I really believed I wasn’t good enough. I accepted second class. It wasn’t until they stood their ground and said, “No we don’t have to take this.”  that I realized I was good enough.  I didn’t just have to accept second class.

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Congresswoman Pelosi, James Hormel ride in the parade on Sunday as Christine Pelosi and Stuart Milk walk along with her.

For the second year in a row Leader Nancy Pelsoi rode with James Hormel in the parade Sunday morning. To me there is no better symbol of political acceptance of the GLBT community than her participation in the parade. As there was a temporary pause n the parade I said to both Stuart and Christine, “We no longer have to explain why the GLBT community deserves their rights. A majority of people are on our side, it is the other side that now has to explain why we shouldn’t have equal rights and I attribute that change to politicians like her (Nancy Pelosi).” To be clear – I do not feel the struggle for equality is over. It isn’t. Justice can’t be just us. There are so many edges we still have to push to ensure that everyone is a part of our gains. I do however think that the impact of having a President and Vice-President on our side should not be minimized.

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We no longer need to mask our true selves.

 

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