This weekend is the 3rd Annual Champaign-Urbana PrideFest. Once again held at Urbana's venerable Lincoln Square, this year's festival has been expanded, not only in the number of days it takes place on, but also the number of acts/performers and stage locations (with the 'main stage' moving outside). Tracy Nectoux over at Smile Politely has done a nice write-up about the festival.
To be honest, I'm a little underwhelmed about going to PrideFest this year. To be clear, this is not a comment on the festival, itself, or of the hard-working organizers, volunteers and businesses who devote their time and efforts to making it a special weekend event. No, I'm more reticent about attending because, frankly, I'm feeling a little tired of the need to be so 'out' with the subject of sexuality.
This is truly a double-edged sword. The reason I even have the luxury of deciding whether or not to publicly proclaim and celebrate my sexuality is because of such pride festivals. It is because of Stonewall. It is because so many for so long had to hide who they really were, and who they loved, and who they wanted to bed. It is because folks -- gay and straight -- fought for equal rights, sometimes giving-up their own lives or freedom in the process. The sacrifices that have been made are not to be taken lightly.
But you feel how you feel and, honestly, I'm just not feeling the need to attend a celebration based upon my sexuality. And I feel kind of bad about that. In truth, my sexuality -- much like it is for many others -- is the core of my life. We build our lives around our sexuality. If you don't think so, just imagine life without your spouse or significant other, without the life you share together, the children and/or pets that you have, the home you've made your own. That is all based upon our sexuality -- whom we are attracted to, whom we love, and whom we decide to build our lives with.
In truth, when I think of "pride" regarding my sexuality, it is of those things I've just mentioned that resonate most. A festival is nice, but it -- in and of itself -- doesn't really represent pride. The life I've been fortunate enough to build does. The irony is, if it weren't for such public expressions regarding sexuality -- such as PrideFest -- then I wouldn't be afforded the privilege to have such a life. Oh well, I'll probably to PrideFest, regardless.