This Pride, Let's Get Political

Pride couldn't have come any sooner this year. I'm tired. Even Andy Cooper's husky dog blue eyes don't have the hypnotizing powers they once did. Our world is tough. The daily, constant threat of societal collapse has seen my usually Punky Brewster outlook turn horribly Debbie Downer. But I cannot wallow in this dystopia – it's not fair to myself and my family. So I sip a little (more than usual) wine, put on my newest Stitch Fix shoes, and declare to the world – it's time to get political!

And so Pride this year takes on new meaning. Another layer has been added to my gay activism. No long it is just ok for me to visible. It's time to speak out. I recognize that my voice, and my privilege, have power. Sure, Pride is still about sipping cocktails and watching the next generation of gays sashay in their American Apparel gym shorts and drag queen t-shirts. But it's also about registering people to vote, sharing our collective history, and supporting candidates that will protect my rights, and the rights of my family members and friends.

It's not enough for us just to be seen any more. Laws are being passed across the country that limit health care, enable discrimination, and allow people to be cruel towards one another. In Columbus, 500,000 people gathered in the spirit of love and solidarity, celebrating our community and the allies who stand with us. But there was something new in the air, a scent mixed with the familiar smells of Axe and jello shot. It was hope. It was resistance. There was a shared recognition in the air – that while we are here to party today, we also know that November is coming…

Many of us can no longer be labeled DINKs – we have seen "Double Incomes, No Kids" come and go. But heterosexual people have been raising children and supporting political candidates for centuries, and while this may move us one more step towards normative hetero-family assimilation, it's a bandwagon I'll gladly jump on. That's why my family supported Rick Neal Pride weekend. Rick is running for U.S. Congress in Ohio. He is the first open LGBT federal candidate to ever run for office in Ohio. Supporting his campaign, and his family, is in turn supporting my own.

We have seen the world transform so rapidly for LGBT families in the past 10 years. For our children, and for ourselves, we must ensure the arc of history continues to bend in our favor. Once you've adopted children, and you're gay, you don't have the right to say you're not political anymore. When I speak up, I do so not only for the benefit of my family, but for the benefit of yours.

As November approaches, I ask you to explore the candidates and issues in your community. Get to know how you can help – knock on doors, make phone calls, and offer financial support when you can. And never let the political odds in your state dictate your involvement. I write to you from Ohio, a bastion of traditional conservatism. But when I talk to my neighbors, and I learn how to best affect change, I know nothing is impossible. Happy Pride from my family to yours!

Posted by Andrew Kohn

Andrew Kohn lives with his husband and 2 kids in Columbus, Ohio. He has written for government, non-government, and private organizations including The White House.


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