My divorce was finalized on one of those perfect June mornings in 2009.
Logistically and legally, it was a pretty simple separation. Not a ton of big assets, no children. Our main concern was how to share custody of our fat, 7-year-old golden retriever.
If you didn’t know us personally, you’d likely think ours was just another starter marriage, doomed from the beginning by young love and naïve expectations.
In some senses, this would be true – in others, not so much.
On that perfect morning nearly 10 years ago, my husband and partner of another nearly 10 years transformed into my gay ex-husband.
How apropos to experience all this – defining authenticity and living authentically, expanding the very concept of love, abandoning fear and judgment, embracing change through pain, respecting imperfection, breathing in forgiveness and breathing out acceptance – during Pride month.
The timing is not lost on me.
I’m a sucker for anniversaries and milestones. Which is why every Pride since, I find myself reflecting on what Pride means to me as an ally with the unique travelogue that comes with my particular journey.
Pride in authenticity.
Pride in love.
Pride in facing fear and judgment.
Pride in metamorphosis.
Pride in imperfection.
Pride in forgiving.
Pride in accepting.
I am proud of who I became on the other side of my divorce, much by virtue of that list. But Pride isn’t about me. That list? Not about me.
This and every June (and, let’s be honest, lots of other months), I proudly celebrate that gay ex-husband of mine. It is a visceral experience to watch and exist next to the coming-out process of a human you have loved for a very long time.
You learn firsthand why Pride is necessary. You understand that until LGBTQ people are unafraid or unrestrained from living their lives with full authenticity that every step we take to help make it a safer, more welcoming world counts.
I’m so grateful and humbled to say my gay ex-husband is still very much part of my life. He’s Uncle Joey to my sons. He’s a good friend to my husband. He and his husband asked me to read at their wedding. He does a lot of good in this world.
He and all our LGBTQ brothers and sisters deserve the happiness and love and self that we all seek. And they deserve every ounce of support and fierce protection of those inalienable rights we’re able to give.
Celebrate Pride, celebrate authenticity.