For the first time since I was 21 years old, I will not be attending Chicago's Pride Parade. Holy fucking shit. I feel like I just got kicked in the crotch, and not in a good way. I mean, I'm missing it for a completely valid, and completely debaucherous reason, I'm off to Las Vegas with 8 buxom.......men. That's right, I will be playing with the boys in LV during Pride Weekend, and don't ask me how that happened, but no doubt it will be epic. But I still kind of can't believe I'm missing the Pride Parade, my gay bread & butter.
I know I've talked extensively about my parents and their support of me and my fellow gays. I know I've told the story about my first Pride Parade, how my parents surprised me by walking in the parade with PFLAG, causing me cry uncontrollably, and when the people around us realized I had no idea they'd be there, they lost it too. I know I've talked about how my parents have walked with PFLAG almost every year since then. I know I've talked about how my mom is the president of the local chapter, my dad is a member, and they've attended endless conferences, meetings, traveled to Springfield multiple, all in support of the gay cause. I know I've talked about this. But I would like to take today to talk about someone who I haven't personally thanked, even though she has been there for 31 years of my life, and was my backbone the entire time I was coming out, and has continued that support ever since. My sister.
I don't know how I've never singled Emily out before now when writing one of my Bartles & James "Thanks for your support" blogs. I've thanked my parents, I've thanked my friends, and obviously, Emily is one of my friends, but she's so much more than that. Emily was the one by my side when I told my parents I was gay. Maybe not literally, I can't remember if she was in the room because I was practically blacked out with fear. But she was by my side. She was by my side when I started coming out to our friends, I can remember Christmas Eve that year, being in Keldra's bedroom with a few girls, telling them...Emily was by my side. She was by my side when I came out to my whole giant family, the silent support that I ALWAYS felt, have felt ever since. She was by my side when my parents came walking up to me during that first Pride Parade, she knew they would be there, she didn't say anything, but she knew she had to be there, she wanted to be there...for me...just like she always had been. She has been by my side at almost every Pride Parade since, wanting to be there for me, and wanting to be there for our other gay friends. She was by my side the day The Joyous One proposed to me, she helped set up the surprise, then gathered our friends at a bar to celebrate it afterwards. She was by my side when I "married" The Joyous One 8 years ago, she was with me all day, was with me all the days before that, she wrote and read an incredible speech for us. She was by my side the day The Joyous One and I got our legal civil union papers, and she stayed by my side for our day-long celebration. She was by my side the day my dad signed our papers and made us legal. She will be by my side this Sunday, even though neither of us will be at the Pride Parade...we'll both be thinking about it, and she will be by my side. And someday, when The Joyous One and I get legally married on a federal level, my sister Emily will be by my side. By my side, she is always by my side, no matter physically or not, she's always by my side.
I cannot begin to thank you, Emily. You have been the strength that holds my head up, the support that has let me to be myself, and the love that has allowed me to have no fear. You're the best "side dish" a sister could ever ask for.