When I woke up this morning, I panicked because it’s July 1st. Pride month had come and gone without me writing a word about it. But then I quickly regained my equilibrium. There is no expiration date on Pride. I’m proud of being gay 365 days a year.
That doesn’t mean I don’t feel anxiety and trepidation on a regular basis. I do. Especially in a world where the relentless news cycle reminds me that love and respect seem to be running in short supply for those who are different and disenfranchised. That’s probably what prompted me to spend $38 on this “LOVE IS LOVE” t-shirt, which my husband and I saw hanging in a window at a Banana Republic store in Chicago a few weeks ago.
Anyway, for my own peace of mind right now, I need to acknowledge and focus on the positive experiences in my life. Moments when I feel respect and pride. One of them occurred here in Arizona just a few nights ago.
I sing with the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus. We are a diverse group of talented gay men of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. The Arizona Diamondbacks invited us to sing the national anthem at Pride Night before the start of the June 29 Dbacks game with the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Before the game, as we exercised our vocal chords and gathered to make our way into the ballpark, courteous members of the Dbacks’ staff worked to locate a wheelchair for one of our members who needed assistance. He’s a beloved, longtime member of the chorus who has recovered from a stroke and returned to sing again. Once the wheelchair arrived, we were on our way. We wound up and down long corridors underneath the ballpark. Ultimately, we were escorted onto the outfield in front of four microphones. That’s when I gazed up at the crowd. I was surrounded by my chorus mates and some twenty thousand fans. A few minutes later, the public address announcer introduced us.
Time stood still. We sang beautifully. The fans cheered. We were thrilled. I was proud.
Love is love.
4 thoughts on “Three Powerful Words”
I’m so happy to read this and share in your experience singing in front of a stadium full of baseball fans. I’m sure you heard of our experience in Windy City when our members (from both GC and then Unison), sang the national anthem at a White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians game in U.S. Cellular field in 2003 — except unlike your experience with the Diamondbacks, the initial reception we received wasn’t welcoming at all…until we started singing. As the audience listened to the amazing sound of our voices, the jeers turned into cheers, and we realized that we had made an important statement right then and there about what it meant to be an LGBTQ individual proudly being out in front of a stadium filled with thousands!
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Thank you for sharing this story, Gerry. It must have been such a revelation to hear the jeers replaced by cheers. A good example of the transformative power of music.
Mark, I’m so glad that my sister Sharon and I could be there to enjoy the performance, followed by a fun ball game. An unforgettable night!
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It certainly was!