It’s Pride weekend in most of the major metro areas in the country and I wanted to bring you a little happiness and a word of caution.

I am thrilled that New York’s legislators decided to vote yes on gay marriage. I sincerely hope we overcome the cruelty our own legislature is trying to inflict on the MN LGBT community and that we can get back on track to getting gay marriage here. It would be nice to be legally recognized in more than six states.

But that’s not exactly why I’m posting.

In our desire for equality – something valid and good and worthwhile – it’s important to remember, and to celebrate, the people who sparked a movement of pride and the call to come out, without whom many of the people in our community who are out now in 2011 would not otherwise be.

Always remember – it wasn’t the rich, the “straight-acting,” the “normative” folks who acted at Stonewall

The only photograph taken during the first night of the riots shows the homeless youth that slept in nearby Christopher Park, scuffling with police. The Mattachine Society newsletter a month later offered its explanation of why the riots occurred: “It catered largely to a group of people who are not welcome in, or cannot afford, other places of homosexual social gathering…. The Stonewall became home to these kids. When it was raided, they fought for it. That, and the fact that they had nothing to lose other than the most tolerant and broadminded gay place in town, explains why.”

So the questions I want all of us to keep in our heads are these:

If not for the actions of the queens, the street kids, the prostitutes, the gender non-conformists, and all of those folks that some people in and out of the community say are inhibiting acceptance…

Would you be out?

Really, what would you risk for the kind of life you have now?