I wear a lapel pin of the LGBTQ flag and a bracelet with rainbow colors. I rarely go without them because it’s my way of showing support to people I love.
A lesbian couple comes into the store regularly to shop for and deliver groceries to homes. I commented on the Pride shirts they wore and showed them my pin and bracelet. They said I needed a shirt and I told them about the one I wear that says “Free Dad Hugs.” It made them smile and they told me I “rocked.” (I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.) I look for them every day and wave when I see them.
Recently, I worked at a different store and my first customer noticed the lapel pin. She spoke very little English and it took me some time to understand that she liked it. I had the feeling that we were addressing each other as parents as we smiled and wished each other well.
Later in the evening a young man came through the line and admired the pin and bracelet. He said, “Last month was Pride Month, you know.” I told him I had been aware of it.
His eyes were a haunted mix of fatigue and defiance, as well as a touch of joy, I think.
“I’m proud of who I am,” he told me.
I said, “If it’s worth anything, I’m proud of you, too.
Then just last night, a beautiful teenage girl who bagged the groceries at my counter told me how much she appreciated my pin and my bracelet. “I haven’t told my parents yet,” she confided. She shared more with me, enough for me to realize she was probably right to wait.
She came up to me later and said, “I’ve gotten to do a lot of different tasks tonight… not just bagging. It makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger.”
Wearing the pin and the bracelet makes me feel that way too. I wonder if she and I were actually feeling the same thing: part a much bigger community.