Pride, to me, is pleasure in one’s achievements, or pleasure in the achievement of another. Pride in a genetic gift, or from anything else one has no control over? That, to me, would be conceit or vanity.
I’m very intelligent. I’m not proud of that, nor am I ashamed of it. My intelligence was a gift from my parents and from God. I am proud of what I have done with my intelligence. I would be ashamed if I did not use it to the fullest.
My fiancée’s intelligence is formidable. I’m not proud – or ashamed – of her for it. I am proud of her formidable accomplishments with her intelligence.
Similarly, I’m not proud (or ashamed) of my (or my fiancée’s) body, although I do take some pride in keeping myself in shape. And I certainly take pleasure in my fiancée’s body (and in her pleasure in my body).
Now, I’m glad I’m a lesbian. If I had the choice, I would choose to be a lesbian.
I’m not proud that I’m a lesbian. I didn’t do anything to make myself a lesbian. I just am a lesbian.
My lesbianism hasn’t been heroic.
I grew up in the most conservative part of one of the most conservative states. A state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage passed by a two-to-one majority – three-to-one in my county. When I lived there, I was deeply in the closet.
But I was never afraid, and I’m not afraid now that I am out of the closet. I’m not even afraid to walk down the main street of the tiny, rural town where I grew up, holding my fiancée’s hand.
Lesbianism has been heroic for many.
I am proud of the lesbians who have gone before me, whose lesbianism was heroic.
My ability to just be a lesbian – without shame or fear – owes everything to those who can justly take pride in being lesbians. To be slightly paradoxical about it, I am proud of them – and they should take pride in themselves – for my lack of pride.