In 2017 Spotted Dog Architecture was certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as an LGBT Business Enterprise. Finally. I was gay enough. As a business. Personally, I’ve been plenty gay long before 2017, although I don’t recall ever getting a certificate.
And like clockwork, my renewal e-mail popped into my inbox last week telling me the time had come for recertification. Once more, I had to submit information to attest that I was in fact still gay enough to be certified. Our friend and North Texas LGBT Chamber President, Tony Vedda, offered to provide a letter to the NGLCC stating I was the gayest architect he knows.
Except after the last year, I’m not sure I feel as gay as I used to. Don’t get me wrong. My princess points haven’t expired, and I haven’t switched teams after – well – forever. Something for which I’m certain James is grateful.
Yet 2020 didn’t provide us with the opportunities to express ourselves and celebrate ourselves the way we have in the past. No Decadence. No Key West. No wedding anniversary trip. Situations I’ve lamented a bit in previous blogs.
But that’s being quite selfish on my part. As a community, I can only imagine how many of us have been challenged by not being able to express who we are and celebrate our queerness. Pride marches and celebrations. Gay cruises. Circuit parties. Trips to P-town, Palm Springs, or Sitges in Spain. These events provide opportunities for a lot of people to be around family – just not their family – and enjoy being themselves unfettered. A chance to feel part of a broader community.
Despite that, we have been able to find other outlets to pour some of that energy into. Even though virtual pride may not have measured up, social media has provided plenty of space to share with the world who we are. And if you have any doubts, just check out Instagram and Tik Tok. And of course, this blog.
And as life moves forward (April already. Really?), I am looking forward to watching 2021 unwind and see how the queer community responds. Friends are already booking events in the fall. We booked our hotel for Decadence as soon as the reservations opened. Key West is locked and loaded. And the idea of Palm Springs has already been tossed around. Hard not to sense that we are ready to celebrate.
Beyond that, however, I wonder what the post-pandemic queer community will look like as we get vaccinated and work our way back into the world. Is this an opportunity to focus some of that pent up energy on our community? Is this a time to reach out to those hardest hit and help lift them up? Is this a moment where we once again flex our political muscle, this time to fight for transgender teens seen as an easy target by conservative politicians?
Or maybe 2021 is a year of renewal overall, not just for me but for the queer community at large. A chance for us to reset and move forward.
I just hope I can find enough certificates.