Are You Proud Now?

Gay liberation is getting old.  Soon we’ll be drag queening our movement into its 40th year.  As any movement will, ours has grown, shrunk back, and changed the way it attempts to gain equality for the estimated 31 million Americans that identify as gay.  Given the current state of the economy, the country’s attempt at a massive change in its current direction and the sense of fear and confusion permeating throughout the world, I think now is a great time for us to once again change the way we’re attempting to gain equal rights.  More to the point, I think it’s time for us to question what have we done today to make ourselves proud.

We’re all working very hard in this economy to make ends meet and to make sure that we keep the jobs that we do have, it’s a very stressful and confusing time so instead of our usual tactics of vodka, brunch and shopping as stress response, how about something that actually works:  helping others in our community.  If you think that the economy has hit you hard, just image how much more difficult it is for those who had even less to begin with.

There are plenty of people in Houston who need your help.  They’re not asking for your money, just your time.  Places like the Montrose Counseling Center are in need of volunteers in the gay community for jobs as simple as a safe sex advocate to answering phones or the Human Rights Campaign where you can help nationally, on a local level.  Why should we leave all of the work we want done to someone else?

There are 15,000 homeless individuals in Harris County alone and 500,000 people served yearly by the Houston Food Bank.  We’re one of the least effected cities by this economic depression, yet every day I pass by a soup kitchen with a line out the door and around the building.  There are even individuals who are still experiencing hardships from Hurricane Ike.  Charity is always easier for the donor than it is the recipient, it’s time we started taking care of each other.

Sure a lot of gays may be successful professionals, earning gobs of disposable income, working hard to achieve our goals, but the true measure of a person is how they treat someone who can be of absolutely no help to them.  If we show our country that on top of fighting for our rights that we are exemplary additions to our communities – and no, refurbishing blighted neighborhoods does not count – then we will win doubly.  We will have helped our neighbors, and we will have shown our countrymen that we are positive assets to any community.

There’s a lot of talk about pride coming up.  It’s always a big celebration, but what are we celebrating?  What have we done besides sit idly by and watch the world occur around us?  I say it’s time to put some pride back into pride.  This year, let’s all give something back, help our community, someone up who’s down, and realize that any little help can make a huge change – then we can truly be proud.