Dab Garner; Wilton Manors, Fla.
While I met my first boyfriend in 1977, I did not attend a Pride event until I went to meet him in San Francisco in June of 1979 for one of the largest Pride events in our country.
Gay men were holding hands, kissing and enjoying the celebration of being who they were. Not living in hiding like they did where I lived in Florida. I was like a kid at Disney World for the first time.
Seeing that I was raised in a military, Southern, Catholic family, it was the first time I really felt OK about being gay.
Unfortunately, the next couple of years would bring many trials and tribulations. After I moved to San Francisco to live with my partner in 1980, I also had my best friend and then my first partner lose their battle with AIDS in 1981 before being diagnosed myself in February of 1982.
Luckily, we now have lifesaving HIV medications, AIDS service organizations, activists, HIV publications and other services. But every now and then I think back to the time when Pride meant being there for each other when a person was losing their battle with AIDS and we knew we only had each other to depend on as it was happening.
Read Dab's full article on his generation's take on Pride.