By Erica Gilman
The morning of Sept. 10 was warm and the streets were full of color as the Worcester Pride Parade wound its way from Institute Park all the way to the Worcester Commons. My roller derby league was a part of the parade, and we were to skate behind the WPI Pride Alliance group.
At one point, the group poised to take a photo. The leader of the group announced that the photo would not be put on Facebook unless everyone felt comfortable with it being posted. For me, all it took was this one comment to realize the importance of what I was doing there. I wasn’t really there to skate through the streets wearing bright colors; I was there as a reminder that prejudice does exist, that 49 people in Orlando had been killed earlier this year, that numerous others have been killed across the world, and that kids sometimes do have to hide themselves from their family and friends. It’s a sobering thought that we as humans can not come to terms with other people for being themselves.
What a weird thought, huh? Hate should not be a consequence of love, no matter who you feel it for.
I skated along the streets of Worcester with my friends, my team, and my community, reflecting on the importance of a parade such as this. This was a community screaming that we are still here, we are not changing for anyone, and we will not back down from those who seek to destroy us. We will fight on for equality and justice, not only for ourselves, but for those we have lost and for our children, who, yes, might one day tell us their gender isn’t what we think, who might confess love for their same-sex best friend, who might dress in drag because they feel damn gorgeous when they do.
When the parade ended and the other festivities began, it quite literally began to rain on our parade. I couldn’t help but look up to search for a rainbow in the sky.