Sunday, June 1, 2014
June's Many Meanings
June means many things to me...
It brings back memories of high school graduation, when I knew I'd be entering a monastery just two weeks later. It brings back memories of that day I entered the monastic life--June 29th, 1993. And it reminds me of the many gay pride events I've celebrated.
I didn't just attend my first gay pride parade, I participated in it! My friend Christopher invited me to march with his group from Queens College, and I happily agreed. And though I've attended the NYC Pride Parade, the Montreal Pride Parade, and the Long Island Pride Parade several times since, none have matched the awesome feeling of marching down the streets of Manhattan. I'll never forget the cheers all along the way, especially as they grew upon entering The Village. I'll never forget the NYU kids cheering us on like we were the most famous people they'd ever seen. Maybe they weren't cheering that much, and we definitely weren't the most famous people in the parade that year, but the atmosphere was just that kind of charged, and completely amazing.
We even came upon a political figure whose poor history with the New York City gay community was unknown to me at that time. He turned his back on the gay community at the dawn of the AIDS crisis, and though many suggested for years that he himself was a closeted homosexual too, I never heard any of this when I marched that year. Mayor Ed Koch stood by himself that day as I recall, a quiet figure in his own quiet space on a side street, literally draped in shadows. But he was there. Many from Queens College ran over to shake his hand, but I was still shy, and nervous, and stayed back. It was cool to see him there, though, and I hope no matter where his personal attractions were, that he made peace with his life and his political mistakes before he died last year.
When I think of June, I also think of my own pride community on Long Island. I remember the work, though little, I did for them, and I think of the many, many people I've met along the way. I think of the brief time I worked for the Pride Parade on Long Island, and I think of the times I marched in the Long Island Pride Parade. And it is with great honor and humility that I reflect on the joy I experienced representing a group I started, called Long Island Gay Friends. Along with our sister group, Dinner Anyone (created by my good friend Ken Arenson), Long Island Gay Friends was the Group Grand Marshal one year.
I did really good work, and I helped people meet others. I don't know how many friendships or even relationships happened because of Long Island Gay Friends, but I know there were some. And that does my heart very, very good!
There are so many happy memories that come to mind when I think of the month of June, but two more very special ones include my partner Andy. It was June 7th in 2001 that Andy first sent me a message online, in response to an online profile I had up. He took the chance that day to contact me, and I am forever a happier human being because he did. And on June 30th, 2009, Andy and I bought our home together. We're happy to be here almost 5 years already!
Many of my happiest memories were born in June, so as the calendar page turns yet again, these are just some of the things that come to mind today. I hope whatever your June memories are, they are sweet ones, and filled with color.