My first gay pride experience is going fairly well. I’ve been having a great time with fellow travel blogger Calan, catching up with old friends, making new ones, stuffing my face with amazing food and having an all round good time. I’ve found myself in Woody’s on more than one occasion, and seen more than my fair share of drag (last night I saw some of the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race performing at an open air event). I’ve been having a gay old time for sure.
At the same time I’ve been struggling a little bit. Maybe it’s because this is an new experience for me. Maybe it’s being from out of town. Maybe it’s being able to build relationship with people after such a log time away working. Maybe it’s a lot of overwhelming emotion that’s been buried for a long time starting to bubble up. It’s probably a mix of these things.
There have been moments I’ve really zoned out – something people are starting to notice. I’ve not been like that since I was in Brazil, recoiling from a jarring intervention by my pastor and others as my university finals were come to a close. Then it was like my whole world and deepest foundations had been ripped out from under me; I felt isolated from my culture and really confused ago my own identity. However that debacle is a whole other blog post.
Despite that, I do wonder if this alien environment I find myself in is having a similar effect – not so much in a negative way, but in a way that is driving me to start asking some questions about myself. At the same time of being completely bewildered and confused, I’ve found a lot of reassurance: sharing life with friends that understand the experiences I’ve had, words of encouragement, not just from people but across the city decked out in a million rainbow flags along with their messages in support of the LGBT community, and rousing speeches from drag queens and the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, alike.
I don’t know how the next few days will go, or whether I will even be able to put a name to the nebulous feelings I can’t really figure out, but regardless I’m going to enjoy the sun and the time with my friends. And more than anything, knowing I’m loved, accepted and valued is reassurance enough.