Tired, but Inspired: Reflecting on Pride 2012

shapeimage_3 (5)Now that PrideFest season is over in South Florida, I must be honest.  With no pun intended, I am straight up tired.  March is a lot like boot camp for gays around here and my body feels like it was run over by a rainbow-sequined truck. For me, out of this feeling of tired, always comes inspiration. From permit applications to PBSO, and from posters to post-Pride bliss, most organizers begin the planning process for next year before the event has even popped its first cork.  After the pictures are posted and the last drop of aloe is used, each muscle ache and sunburnt nose is worn like a badge of honor.

So who are we and why do we this to ourselves each year? We are the hardworking staff, volunteers and supporters of Compass, Pride South Florida and Pride of the Treasure Coast. We believe in the power of grassroots organizing and paying it forward to each other with donated booths so the next event can be successful for no other reason than maintaining unity in the community.

We are the partnering financial and media sponsors who support the vision and give back to the communities we live, work and play in. We are the non-profits, the for-profits and the community churches who return year after year as vendors, ensuring the LGBT community knows who supports them and their families throughout the year.

We are the generations of people, young and old, straight and gay, who march in one parade and celebrate in one park, knowing that producing parties is not activism, but parties with a purpose create a quality of life worth fighting for.

Each year, many community members are overwhelmed for the wish of this feeling of Pride to last longer than March. I feel so blessed in working with people who have become a family and I’m here to tell you that feeling can last all year.  Spending time being yourself, giving back, living openly and loving who you want, is both liberating and empowering. Individuals, supportive elected officials and effective organizational leaders are sometimes mistaken for visionaries.  Perhaps some would consider them to just be recipients of great luck. In reality, everyone who creates Pride in their communities, are just people. People, with goals and aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, who help create the quality of life we all enjoy in South Florida.  They are great by choice and share a commitment and passion for discipline. That’s right, discipline. For without discipline, there would no chance to be creative or do great work.

So through this next year, while entertainers practice dance moves and songwriters of tomorrow hone their gift of voice, please remember this feeling you have right now. To those who came and celebrated, this feeling you have is our one wish for you as a gift to carry with you all year. To my fellow partners in Pride and soldiers of social justice, I salute you. The tents may be packed up, the fence and floats may be torn down, but somewhere out there is a young person, putting their rainbow socks neatly in the bottom of a drawer, just waiting for next year.

Julie Seaver is the Director of Development for Compass Community Center in Lake Worth, FL and can be reached at julie@compassglcc.com.