In my time here at Cal I’ve come to be increasingly aware of my character and individuality, namely about my native geographic location and sexual orientation.
When I first met the other interns, all but two of us we’re California natives: myself from Michigan and another from Alberta, Canada. We quickly found out through colloquialisms and mannerisms that Lorelei and I have had strikingly similar experiences as opposed to those from in state. We discussed the concept of “going to the lake” and “tubing on the river” for summer fun, which no one else but my Canadian friend seemed to understand. Many had never heard what tubing was before. A few educated me on the corrects way to refer to San Fransisco (Hint: It’s not San Fran). We argued over the age old “soda v. pop” debate and more cases of the weird mid-western slang. We even got heated over Berkeley and Michigan, deciding which is the true “#1 Public University”. I guess we will never truly know.
When my fellow intern and friend Mandi, who started the Berkeley v. Umich debate, realized that I’d never been to a Pride celebration she insisted that I attend. The Bay area, specifically San Francisco and Berkeley, is known for its awesome progressive efforts and liberal attitudes and I’ve never had so much exposure to others who had such an open mindset. I quickly learned that we having amazing diversity in terms of sexuality within our friend group. One friend is pansexual and polyamorous, another is bisexual, and another a-sexual. Learning this, I immediately felt a bit of second-hand guilt in my cis-het identification because of the atrocities history holds in this subject.
I feel thankful to have attended San Francisco Pride festivities alongside both my LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ friends. I was happy to show my support and see the amount of acceptance, love, openness, and fun thrown into one city. Of the many lessons deriving from this experience, the best is that one’s identity is fluid and always changing, and should never be subjected to the negativity or judgment of others. Ever.