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    Wayne Gray
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Why Pride? - 1. Why Pride?

"I mean, why do gays need Pride anyway? If you want to prove you should be treated like everyone else, why have this thing just to celebrate how different you are?"

Jace shot an irritated look at Myles, his very straight, usually cool roommate. "Because straight people aren't attacked or verbally assaulted in the street for holding the hand of the person they love. That's why we need Pride. And it's why I'm going tomorrow."

Myles curled his lip, never looking away from the screen. He physically moved to dodge along with his avatar on the television. "It's 2021. That shit doesn't happen anymore, not in the city."

Jace barked a laugh. "Wow. You have no idea."

"It doesn't!" Myles kept playing, grimacing as a grenade went off close, causing his avatar some damage.

Jace walked over and stuck out his hand. "Bet me. Loser cooks and does dishes all week."

Myles paused the game and regarded Jace with narrowed eyes. "How are you planning to prove it?"

"Easy. We walk five blocks holding hands. If we get no negative comments or attitude, you win. If we do, I win."

Staring, Myles wet his lips. "Where? Not some hood."

"Nope. Right here, around the apartment. One of the best neighborhoods in the city." Jace smirked at Myles's hesitation. "Aww. It's okay. I know you're scared."

"Fuck you, man." Myles stood up and gripped his hand, hard. "You're gonna hate making my dinner all week."

Jace squeezed right back and grinned. "Don't forget, I prefer chicken over beef."

Myles snorted and sat back on the couch. He began putting on his shoes. "Let's do this shit."

≠≠≠

Jace and Myles had only just left the apartment building when Myles grabbed his hand.

"All right. Five blocks."

"Yep. You choose the direction." Jace smiled at him.

"Fine." Myles predictably headed deeper into the downtown area. With all the coffee shops, businesses, and offices, the area screamed 'liberal elite.'

They walked the first two blocks quickly. Myles kept looking around, noticing the attention of all they passed. "Fuck, this is bullshit," he mumbled.

"Relax. This is pretty nice. I'm surprised; you might win."

"What? Getting stared at by everybody you pass is 'nice?'" Myles's hand sweated against Jace's palm.

"Welcome to my life. Well, if I had a boyfriend."

They stopped to wait for the light, and that's when it happened.

"Faggots!" A guy hung out of a window as a car drove past. In moments, the vehicle had disappeared down the street. Others who had gathered on the corner to cross looked at them.

Myles stared after the car. He blinked and released Jace's hand, then turned.

Jace followed. "Myles?"

"Yeah, you win. Whatever." He clenched his jaw.

"No. That's not important." Jace gripped his shoulder. "Hey. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Myles said, then shook his head. "No. I'm not fine. That shit was messed up. We weren't hurting anybody."

"No, we weren't." Jace patted his back. "Come on." They started walking and he felt a twinge of guilt. "Hey. So I knew this would happen. It wasn't really a fair bet, so you don't have to cook and do dishes all week."

"You knew." Myles slowly nodded. "Fuck." He sighed deeply. "No. We stick to the bet." He looked over at Jace. "What do you want for dinner tonight?"

≠≠≠

The next day, Jace giggled at himself. He'd dyed his blonde hair pink, and wore a skin-tight sequined rainbow shirt. His white jeans looked sprayed on, and he completed the look with a wide black belt and chunky steel-toed black boots. "Oh, yas queen!" He smacked his ass and laughed.

He'd seen very little of Myles all day, but thanks to his preparations, he'd not had much time to dwell on it.

Exiting the bathroom, he ran directly into his roommate in the hall and stared in shock.

Myles wore his leather riding gear, jeans, boots, and on his head perched a new rainbow-colored beanie.

"So, I don't have rainbow stuff, really. Well, other than this thing." Myles fiddled with his hat. "You think this is okay for the parade?"

Jace laughed. "Ah, yeah! Yeah, it's great." He realized he was crying and wiped his eyes. "Dude, you don't have to do this."

"Come on. We're gonna be late."

Jace chuckled and snagged his jacket. "Okay."

They left the building, and Myles grabbed his hand. He pulled Jace along, eyes roving the street - seemingly begging for someone to say something to them.

They made it to the same corner as the day before, and Jace squeezed his hand. "Thanks, Myles."

Myles nodded. "Happy Pride, Jace."

"Happy Pride, Myles."

Thank you for reading my Pride Short!

If you enjoyed it, please rate, comment, and review. I appreciate any and all of the time you might spend on my work.

The story is based in large part on a training exercise a police force had their new officers undertake. In order to understand the prejudice faced by gay people, these officers walked around their soon to be beats holding hands with a same-sex partner. They were each and every one unpleasantly surprised by the reactions of those around them.

We've still a long way to go.

Copyright © 2021 Wayne Gray; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments



well done Wayne, well done!
Phil and i would frequently go out for drinks and snacks with one of the engineers i worked with and her wife
it was hard to watch the looks, but we all just kept on with being us
i see in my kids' friends more acceptance than when we were younger and i'm glad for it
glad you were inspired to write this

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12 hours ago, mollyhousemouse said:

well done Wayne, well done!
Phil and i would frequently go out for drinks and snacks with one of the engineers i worked with and her wife
it was hard to watch the looks, but we all just kept on with being us
i see in my kids' friends more acceptance than when we were younger and i'm glad for it
glad you were inspired to write this

Thanks, molly!

Aww. I’m glad your friend had you and Phil in her life. It makes things more tolerable for us, to be supported.

It’s true - younger folks are moving away from the damaging attitudes of the past.

I can’t wait until that BS is just a memory.

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Bft

Posted (edited)

Thanks for this story Wayne, it’s poignant right now with what is going on in Hungary, Poland and Russia and other former Soviet block countries as well as Brazil with the right wing idiots that talking about anti LGBT propaganda etc and the sheer hatred is just awful.

Edited by Bft
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1 hour ago, Bft said:

Thanks for this story Wayne, it’s poignant right now with what is going on in Hungary, Poland and Russia and other former Soviet block countries as well as Brazil with the right wing idiots that talking about anti LGBT propaganda etc and the sheer hatred is just awful.

Thanks, Bft.

I hear you. I watch what is happening out there, and I try to understand it. The world can be a hostile place to us, and I can see no good reason for it.

I hope things change across the world. That progressiveness takes the place of these backward, harmful views.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

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9 minutes ago, ZekeNix said:

Golden, simply golden.

Thanks, Zeke! I'm happy you liked this little story.

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