Pride and Consequence

Pride and Consequence

Thanks to Apple’s Health App, I know that on a typical day I walk 2.8 miles. Around the house, around the yard, around the office: I don’t stop moving very often. When legs aren’t moving, the mind is. Given where I live, most of the places I go to unwind or grab a bite are within walking distance. When I lived in Orlando, many of my steps were home from bars as I raced the sun’s rising. Now, a little older, many of the steps I take that pile on top of those 2.8 miles are around my South Tampa neighborhood holding hands with the man I love.

On our walks, we savor each others’ company, gather landscaping ideas from our neighbors, stop to pet dogs along the way, and wonder at the gravity-defying feats of squirrels in ancient oaks. We discuss lizards’—a critter he has only come to know since moving to Florida from Michigan—kaleidoscopic colors and the cirrus-dotted, pinking sky over Tampa’s Bay as we walk its shores at dusk.  We are walkers and we are lovers. We count our steps together.

I was, at first, disappointed that we did not walk, in celebration with my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, in last week’s Tampa Pride Parade.
I was, at first, disappointed that we did not walk, in solidarity with the newest generation of idealists, in last week’s March for our Lives.
I am, too, disappointed that we were three generations behind on walks with Dr. King in Selma and Montgomery.
I am, too, disappointed that we were countless generations behind on marches, in which we would have locked steps, with women’s suffragists, with greatest generation heroes, with blue-coated Civil Warriors and Revolutionaries.

But then, I considered  the important walks that I have taken.

I reflected on consequential walks, over the past eight years, with the man I love: the  walk through downtown Tampa last July to the Hillsborough courthouse where we registered as domestic partners; the walk through Publix, an otherwise unspectacular shopping trip to get beer, cereal, and ground turkey, on the day after the Obergefell decision legitimized our relationship; the walk out of my Orlando home and into a new home in Tampa that was, not mine but, ours. I remembered steps with him on Boston’s Freedom Trail, steps with him onto the glass-bottomed observatory in Chicago’s Sears (Willis) Tower, steps from the airport arrivals curb to the newly washed car that he picks me up in each Friday after a workweek away. I’ve stepped with him proudly, through the streets of New York and Las Vegas and Los Angeles and Cleveland and Charlotte and Miami and Detroit and Atlanta and New Orleans.

Every day, wherever we are, is a pride parade. Each day together presents another opportunity to show the world that our love is real, that our love is legitimate.

We don’t need a spectacle to prove to the world that we are proud. We are good citizens, serving our neighbors and our nation each day. While we recognize the cultural value and historical relevance of Pride parades, we also know that we have—in many ways because of the exhibition of Pride parading—reached a point in America where our love is normalized. We know that Pride parades in 2018 are celebratory victory laps for equality, not quite the radical protests that they began as.

We walk in the throes of mundane exhibition: happy together, in front of the world. Our walks together, sometimes hand in hand, sometimes rapt in arguments about sports or politics or how to arrange the furniture, sometimes in the presence of silent companionship, are our pride.

We are proud of each other. We are proud of our families who have evolved in light of our pride. We are proud that we have walked Howard Avenue in Tampa and Summerlin Avenue in Orlando without a moment of compunction. We are proud of Orlando and Tampa and Florida and America, the places that let us be who we are, together. We are proud of the steps that we, as a people, have taken in the marches of progress—still progressing—toward greater freedom and equality increased.

We are thankful for Apple apps and for knowing that our health—as a couple and a nation—can be measured in steps. 2.8 miles a day is just a start to a healthy heart and the love that it supports: moving one foot in front of the other, all of us, together.


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