My daughter came out in 2010 when she was 16 and away at boarding school. We were supportive from the start but not all her classmates were. When she arrived home for the summer she was in a dark place.
We were worried. Nothing we suggested could coax her out of her room for long. I confided my worries to a virtual stranger behind the desk at Toyota. This kind person suggested I tell Amy about Pride and that Pride needed volunteers.
Something about the idea prompted Amy to sign up for every shift. I was so relieved I did something only a straight, cisgender mom would do: I drove her to Pride and dropped her off at the Beer Store on Church early Saturday morning. Do. Not. Drive. To. Pride.
I will admit to a little stalking and what I saw was a gang of LGBTQ2S+ kids with a team leader happily emptying trash cans and setting up bleachers. Amy was grinning from ear to ear.
The next day she went on her own and told me about the shivers she felt walking out of Wellesley station. As she stood for a second just outside the station, a woman stroked Amy’s arm as she passed by. She was in heaven.
Amy had found her people. She would never feel alone again. She knew she was part of a loud, proud, talented and boisterous community. It was a revelation. A turning point.
And it was a turning point for every other kid who anxiously emerged from Wellesley Station that weekend in 2010 and every Pride weekend before and after.