Last summer, I was thrilled to have bought a little $2 bracelet at my first ever pride. One of those rubber-y livestrong types- simply in rainbow colors. I wore it for a few months until it broke, and it was a sad day. I felt balanced, with a Yarmulka on my head and a pride bracelet on my wrist.
The head covering symbolizes God's presence in my life, my reminder that he in constantly above me and the feeling that he's watching over me. Not to mention the obligation it puts on me to be a Jew and act appropriately in the eyes of God at all times. These are all things I have been taught that the Yarmulka symbolizes, and I remember it as often as I can. However, there's another part of me that is also very important. Unfortunately, people box and stereotype and pigeonhole, all of which I have discussed on here earlier, and when someone sees me in a Yarmulka they automatically make assumptions about who I am. As I have pointed out before, I like to challenge those assumptions and teach people that not everything the believe to be true is automatically, always true. For that reason I like the Pride bracelet.
This summer I bought another one, that will hopefully last a bit long than the last one. I like to show the world that I don't necessarily fit the mold and can't always be held to preconceived notions about Jews or Orthodoxy. I understand that it seems self centered and maybe crying for attention, but it's really not. It's just about having a comprehensive sense of who I am. If I have to wear the Kippah over my head at all times, I want to wear the bracelet on my wrist.
I realized today that for me, being proud is not about my sexual desires or "deviance" from "norms". However, being proud is about opposing shame. It's about telling myself that all those years of hate and shame for who I was are no longer, and all the hurt of hiding doesn't have to be true. By marching in pride, and by wearing this bracelet, I understand and in essence reach out to my high school self to tell him it's okay. I don't have to feel shame any more.