by Ryan Quintero
It’s not every day you wake up and read multiple messages from friends or look at your newsfeed and see a string of commentary on the Gay Community and Crossfit. Last month, a downtown Indianapolis gym cancelled a Pride month work out that employees and members planned – resulting in an instant backlash.
Wrong community, wrong month – every Gay from east to west stopped streaming the most recent season of Queer Eye, paused on their summer sample sale shopping, and picked up the most powerful modern-day weapon in their arsenal, the cell phone; taking to the interwebs and letting Russell Berger and Crossfit have a piece of their Snatching-Thruster-Clean&Jerking-Gay mind.
Crossfit Chief Knowledge Officer Russell Berger’s employment was terminated after he thanked the gym for “refusing to celebrate sin,” the company announced on Twitter.
In the words of Rupaul, Mr. Berger, Sashay Away!
“CrossFit is a diverse community in every way, and that’s what makes us strong. No matter who you are, how you’re built, what you believe, or who or how you love—we are proud of you,” the company wrote on Twitter.
Happening during the Gay Holy Days of Pride, it made me realize there are still so many people out there that don’t understand why we have a month long dedicated celebration, a televised parade, our own flag, and just that – PRIDE.
The easiest way to explain this is, that in our world, straight, cisgender, and heterosexual are the default. And that anything outside of this norm is unacceptable, unlovable, and unnatural. As we grow up we are born with this idea that – to love, be attracted, or have sex with someone of the same sex is abominable.
It’s this conditioning and programming that cause us to hide, hate, and deny this fact about ourselves; and a secrecy that leads to shame, pain, and hurt.
Some are able to accept being gay as soon as they realize it and quickly shout it from the mountains or swinging from the top of a chandelier; while others suppress it, letting it gnaw away at their happiness and selflove for most of their lives.
Coming out, is the moment a gay person decides that they will not live in the shadows, that people – friends, family, foes will know who they are – all of who they are. That they secretly love Kelly Clarkson, musicals, interior décor, and fashion – actually, that’s not everyone, just me.
Coming out can be one of the scariest moments in a Gay person’s life – they think to themselves, ‘will my family still love me, will my friends still like me..’, It’s the moment they decide, I do no care anymore, I like me, and I love me. The moment they go from self-tolerance to self-acceptance.
Some are lucky to have friends that promise to be there every part of the way and families that hug and kiss them, and tell them nothing has changed.
For some being Gay is a huge part of who they are and for other’s it does not define the whole. However, we all share one thing when we come out, we are finally proud.
Unfortunately, it’s during Pride month where we see more pushback from heterosexual communities and individuals who do not understand what the whole pride thing is about. People who look us square in the eyes and tell us, ‘they know someone gay and are fine with someone being gay, but why do you have to flaunt it in the streets – straight people don’t.’
It’s this moment I have to remind straight and cisgender people that they are the most visible people on the planet, and not just because of sheer numbers, but because their relationships, sexuality, and gender expression are seen as the normative expression, and repeated in every community across the country. Straight, cisgender people hold hands as they walk down the street without fear of getting accosted. They get to watch television shows and movies, listen to music, and read books that center on their relationships and gender expressions.
For many LGBT people, pride is the one time of the year that they can be out and proud of who they are and who they love. It’s the one time of year that they can stand boldly in the streets with droves of other queer individuals, proclaiming that we are fully human and deserve to be celebrated and uplifted just like everyone else.
It is an incredibly healing experience to get to march in parades or attend festivals where thousands upon thousands of LGBT+ people are letting their lights shine before all people without fear.
Pride is often the beginning of the process of healing.
Pride is a time where we step out of the shadows and declare that we will no longer be forced to suppress our truest selves.
Pride is declaration, acceptance, and love.