Kit – My Story

Alexander – My Story
June 27, 2024
John – My Pride Story
June 28, 2024
Alexander – My Story
June 27, 2024
John – My Pride Story
June 28, 2024

Kit – My Story

My name is Kit. This is my story.

I grew up in a small Montana town, and that it was several (ha!) years ago at that. This year, I become eligible for Medicare, to give you perspective. I grew up in a loving, accepting family, had lots of friends, was a regular church-goer at a church where I was also loved and accepted, and so forth.

And, still, it really wasn’t advisable to be “out.” And there were precious few who were brave enough to do it. I certainly didn’t want to rock that boat, for sure.

We had one known lesbian in my town. She was as butch as they come, but — and I’m projecting here — she always seemed lonely to me. And people made fun of her. I didn’t actively participate, but I found myself thinking “wow, I don’t want to have that happen to me.” So, I kept my crushes to myself. Again, don’t rock that boat.

So, off to college. Same rules applied (even more so, as it was a Catholic college). Even so, I had my first relationship there. Of course it had to be kept under tight wraps, and of course it was probably well known, anyway. But even though I was finally experiencing a real relationship, I had to pretend. We all did.

Off to the big city, because it just seemed more accepting for gay folks. Things started getting better, even though people would come up to me and ask terrible questions about what my girlfriend and I did in private. Even with people driving by, hollering the D-word.

BUT. There was a gay newspaper. There were the Frontrunners (newly formed!). There were actual places to go. I helped organize the first couple of “Run with Pride” events in our city in the mid-1980s. We couldn’t find a sponsor; nobody wanted to partner with the gays. No matter, we got it done ourselves.

The newspaper would report that there were a few thousand folks at the Pride Parade. We all knew it was closer to 10K or more, but understood that these things were often underestimated. No corporate participation, heaven forbid.

OK, so where am I going with this? For those of you who think Pride has gotten too corporate, let me say this clearly: we need the support, and we haven’t had that support for very long. For those of you who think Pride isn’t necessary because “we have everything already” or “they’re just rubbing it in our faces now” let me tell you – it means a helluva lot to this nearly 65-year-old Montana ranch kid to experience acceptance. To know that today’s LGBTQ+ are that much closer to living in a world where it’s truly no big deal to be “different.” That everyone may live their *authentic* lives, without having to hide.

I’m happily married to my partner now – 30 years together, 11 years legally married. That Montana ranch kid’s dream came true after all. But I stand with those for whom it didn’t go nearly as well. For those who still struggle. I’m known as Mama Bear, and I take that role pretty seriously.

I’m a longtime member and former Chair of the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), to help all LGBTQ+ fulfill their aviation dreams, just as I was able to.

That, my friends, is what Pride means to me. That’s my gay life. Thanks. And Happy Pride!

Thanks for reading,
—Mama Bear

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