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Sunday, 6 June 2021

Pride, Proud?

 The eagle-eyed (and eared) among you may have noticed that this June is Pride Month.

It's a curious time, and not just because most of the celebrations are online (or in the case of BBC Radio 6music, on the airwaves) rather than out the street.

It happens to be a curious time  for me personally because this is the first time I've been actively involved in the celebrations. 

Circumstances have conspired in previous years - even before lockdown - to prevent me actually attending a public Pride event, either as my everyday male persona or as Susie. That one is still on my bucket list.

But this year I found myself on the newly formed Pride committee at work, helping to arrange and publicize the network and a number of events lined up throughout Pride Month in June.  And it's even more curiouser* for me in that I have not actually come out to the rest of the committee as bi-gender, or hinted at the existence of Susie. Instead I registered as an ally when I joined rather than identifying as any part of the  LGBT spectrum.

[* if it's a good enough for Alice then it's good enough for me.]

It feel does a little disingenuous, and I suspect at some point that this unresolved situation may have to change. The trouble is, as with a lot of  decisions you keep putting off, the harder it gets to finally do something about it, and the more uncomfortable having to explain why you kept putting it off in the first place. 

If and when I come out at work is not down to any actual or perceived pressure to do so. The company I work for is very supportive of Pride as part of a wider remit of Diversity and Inclusion and it's made very clear that you are not expected to do anything that would make you feel uncomfortable: You can be out and proud, or you may not think you are ready, or you even think it's no-one else's damn business how you feel and you you fancy. It is entirely your choice, and everyone needs to respect that.

But Pride? If I'm still hiding the existence of Susie, even to my fellow members on the Pride committee and who I can trust to be accepting and completely confidential, then should I be celebrating Pride? Am I, in fact, proud?

Possibly not. I've lived with this dual aspect of me so long, and though some pretty grim times, that it's not something I can say I'm proud to be in the same way I can take pride in a skill or an accomplishment. It's just a weird kink, maybe even a glitch, in the way I developed. It's there, and it's always been there, and to me it's sort of like saying  you are proud of being left handed, or having blue eyes, or a middle toe longer than the rest. (I haven't by the way, so don't bother checking your own in case it's some weird medical marker.)

No. I'm celebrating Pride for other people: for my colleagues and my friends, both at work and elsewhere, whether they know me as Susie or not. And that means for you too.

Happy PRIDE.

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