There’s going to be one helluva Pride Parade in Heaven tonight.

I was once a politically active member of the Denver women’s community, at a time when the only politically correct choices were to identify as gay or lesbian. The running joke at the time was that bisexuals just needed to “make up their fucking minds.” When I started to realize the word lesbian didn’t truly describe me, I was serving on the Board of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. So I started to feel like a traitor and a liar every time I opened my mouth to speak on behalf of others.

I eventually had to choose between living an authentic life and being part of a community I had come to love. I chose honesty and it cost me several good friends — because lesbian feminists at that time saw being bisexual as a copout and a betrayal. There was also some understandable resentment about bisexual people being more accepted by the straight community and less likely to lose their jobs. But there is no defense for taking that out on people who should have been their allies.

I don’t mean to understate how hard all of this was. It was horrible. I was lost and felt like I had no safe place to turn where I wouldn’t be met by judgment and recrimination. I didn’t fit in anymore with any established group, and that was lonely and disorienting. I didn’t trust therapists, for reasons I won’t go into here, and didn’t seek their help in sorting it all out for many years. When I told my parents I wasn’t heterosexual, my mother took to her bed for a week. She finally apologized to me on her death bed 30 years later.

I gradually came to understand and accept what had happened, and to stop blaming people who were just doing the best they could in the midst of their own fears and oppression. I have been heartened by the growing acceptance of bisexuality in the LGBTQ community and the rejection of internalized oppression, although the old judgments still persist with some members of the old guard. And while I generally find the use of acronyms for groups of people somewhat dehumanizing, I also know how much it means to those who don’t fit into the G&L categories to finally be included in the larger public conversation.

Throughout the years, my support for the LGBTQ cause has never wavered. I have always been a strong and public supporter of LGBTQ rights, even when my estrangement from that community felt like disenfranchisement. I know how much today’s Supreme Court decision means to all of us, tempered only by the steep price so many had to pay to get us here. I will be grateful for the rest of my life for the courage and tenacity of people like Carol Lease, Paul Hunter, and Jerry Gerash. What once was only a dream in their fiercely determined souls has finally come to pass.

P.S. I’m sorry we weren’t able to get this done in time for you to feel safe and loved, Tommy, but you are in our hearts today and every day. There’s going to be one helluva Pride Parade in heaven tonight.

Jassa Skott ~ June 15, 2020

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