Get Out There! Celebrate America's Mosaic

At the end of every work week, "All I wanna do is have some fun, and I wanna tell you I am not the only one."

Sheryl Crow's '90s anthem is a classic sentiment shared by us all -- big or small, male or female. It's our right as proud, hardworking people, and lets us be real.

Even the hardly workin' feel the same -- and summertime is the time we head to the street to celebrate. BBQ's, fairs, family reunions and fireworks are all a part of our proud heritage, and as a people we have learned to come together to celebrate victories, holidays, momentous family occasions and, most of all, our differences.

That is part of what makes this land of democracy such a great place. We are a melting pot, a land where people of many and any cultured backgrounds can merge and exist as individuals with their varied cultures and yet be a united community, as free human beings with the same rights … and needs.

One of our most important rights is the freedom to express ourselves ... free to be you and me ... and we are damn proud of it. So proud, in fact, that we have created specific days and parades to celebrate and showcase a smorgasboard of global ethnicities and choices.

There's the Israeli day parade. The Greeks have a day, the Irish always come out in full force to party for St. Patty's Day, the New Yoricans really bring the star power with grand marshals and performers as illustrious as Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony.

When people get together to celebrate, they often get a little too festive with alcohol and rowdy behavior, resulting in disorderly conduct and arrests. Maybe that part we shouldn't be so proud of.

To celebrate these festivities, we created a platform for people of like thoughts and backgrounds to highlight the positive and to show we are the same but different. A chance to be out loud and proud.

And nobody does it bigger, bolder and brasher ... then "My Gays," as Kathy Griffin loves to call us from the D-List. With parades of pride and rainbows around the globe, New York City alone has several gay pride parades, celebrating in all the boroughs. But the biggest of them all is right in Manhattan Sunday, June 24, as thousands of ethnically and economically diverse people gather together to show their pride and unity.

Every year, my best friend and I go out with the intention to participate in the festivities. It is a momentous occasion when you contemplate the "Stonewall" incident of June 28, 1969, when gays had no rights. It is amazing to see how far we've come when I see the parade. Even a city boy like me, who is rarely shocked is often embarrassed and saddened by the way many of my peers chose to exhibit their pride. And that is what one of things that makes America great.

Personally, I want people to understand that gay is not always drag (sorry Tina and Cher look-alikes) or muscles in a thong (so rarely is that really hot!!). Or, my fashion faux is the shirtless lesbians looking really mean and butch with black masking tape on their breasts. In this humble writer's experience, I think that sends more negativity about your issues than you might want.

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