Pride for the fallen

I waited hungry-eyed in the line at McDonald’s. The ambient beeping of God-knows-what machine and the occasional interruption of a screaming child. Above the fray, I hear a call.

“Order 421?”

“That’s me!”

Finally. My chicken nuggets had arrived. I settled down to eat them and thought, today is a good day.

It’s pride week in Toronto and many of the patrons of the establishment were garbed in a variety of rainbow outfits. Beside me sat a small boy and his parents.

“Mom, why does that guys shirt say remember?” he asked, as he pointed towards a large-bearded gentleman with a tye-die rainbow shirt with #remember printed on the chest.

“What do you think?” asked mom.

“They’re remembering people I think!”

“Good job, what people?”

“Maybe the war? Like world war 2?”

“Close! They’re celebrating gay pride and they’re remembering the people who came before them. It’s not that long ago you could be beaten to death for being gay.”

The boy looked appropriately surprised as his mother continued; “you know, there’s parts of America where you can’t get married if you’re gay.”

The boy responded,”what?! That doesn’t make any sense!”

I had to stop myself from getting up and hugging this mother, for thanking her on raising such a gentle, open-minded child. He was surprised to hear being gay was something people considered bad. It didn’t make sense to him that there are jurisdictions where gay marriage remains illegal. It was a breath of fresh air among increasingly suffocating calls for “straight pride.” They aren’t discriminated against any more and if we are about equal rights, we should have a parade too! being among the most common complaints solicited on the average Facebook newsfeed.

I got up and left the table, thinking about the family as I left. The moment I had just witnessed, I thought to myself, was the perfect example of why gay pride is important.

Homosexuality has been various degrees of criminal in the modern memory of the Western world. LGBTQ2+ members of our society have been jailed, beaten, tortured, and forced into hiding, because of our collective intolerance of their own sexuality.

If you ever find yourself wishing for a straight pride parade, think for a minute if you want what came before it. And while you waste your time contemplating such a frivolous question, I’ll be celebrating gay pride.

Dr. Travis Barron is a resident physician in Toronto, Canada.