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We have so much to be proud of every year, and especially this year. Marriage bans in every non-equality state are being challenged and getting struck down on the regular. Our President has declared our celebration a national occasion to celebrate diversity. Members of our community are increasingly visible, and I can finally say that the vast majority of people I meet, no longer see us as different enough to instill fear and hatred. We have so many allies rooting for us, and it’s so important for us to root for each other too. We have struggled to get the world to see us as what we are– brothers, sisters, neighbors, cousins, colleagues, etc. We have known for some time that we are just people bound together by what is both a small part of who we are and a huge part of our lives. Within our own community we are vastly different, and as we ask the nation to celebrate diversity and pride in our community, we should remember to do the same.

Taking a lighthearted approach to a serious issue, I will say…

If I can be proud of my wife who considers wearing a real bra “dressing up,” we can all be proud of that lesbian in jeans at a dressy party. We can also be proud of the gay man wearing an Armani shirt to your casual dinner at Chili’s, and the one dressed in head to toe leather at a summer BBQ. We are all an important part of our community, and we can be proud of everyone who dresses how they want to.

If my wife can be proud of me when the nerdiness is at its peak, and I’m excitedly talking about the most boring of subjects, or when I’m that girl with the pink tool set, we can all be proud of the lesbian who’s into Harleys and carpentry. We can be proud of the gay man that loves glitter and does pirouettes in the street, as well as the one whose greatest pride is his flowing beard. We are all an important part of our community, and we can be proud of everyone who does what makes them happy.

If my wife and I can be proud of each other even though we have yet to decide “which one of us is the man,” we can all be proud of the hyper masculine, the super feminine and all those in between. We can be proud of those that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual and all those in between. We can be proud of the transsexual members of our community who are still working to gain the level of acceptance and respect that many of the other letters in LGBT have already gotten. We are all an important part of our community, and we can be proud of everyone who expresses their gender and their sexuality as they know is right for them.

We have the power to look at our own community and see what we hope the world sees– people. We may conform to stereotypes or we may not. We may have our stuff together, or we may be struggling. We may be almost invisibly different, or we may grab attention from across the room. The part of this we can choose to focus on is the “we.”  Let’s all remember, that we couldn’t have come this far so fast without our straight allies and remember to be allies for each other. As we take pride in ourselves, we can be prepared to let the nation share in our pride as well.