I’m From Dubuque, IA.

by sarah a.

Only a few months after coming out, the Prop 8 decision was passed down and the gay community said, “Enough Already!” As the protests and the marches were organized across the country, one was arranged in DC where I currently live. A march was planned from the steps of the Capitol around the National Mall and onto the lawn of the White House. I had only recently moved to the area and had never been to either the Capitol or the White House. I can’t imagine a better way to see these landmarks than filled with the thousands of people who showed up that Saturday to march. I was there in my newly-out-lesbian pride, with two newly-wed lesbian friends, and our friend and colleague with her 6-year-old son. I couldn’t believe how many people were there: gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, the whole community was uniting together. I had never seen so many gay people in all my life (Dubuque being hardly a town of diversity or tolerance). But here they were, normal people of all shapes and sizes, not perfect-looking stereotypes from TV.  And for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged somewhere.

We walked for miles, chanting, cheering and talking to those around us, while other people stood at the sidelines and watched. Some carried signs of their own — some condemning us to Hell, some merely stood with confused question marks across their faces, but some honked their horns and cheered with us as they drove by on their way to wherever they were going. We’d been walking for a while, admiring the creativity of our fellow queers, (signs that read, “Silly bigots, rights are for everyone!” and “Does your marriage suck less yet?” among others) when the heavens opened up and it started to pour.  Our bodies were drenched, but our spirits were high as we joked about what message some higher power was trying to send us.

The downpour was intense but short and as it began to ease up, I glanced over my shoulder and stopped dead in my tracks. A clear and perfect RAINBOW arched across the sky, stretching from the Capitol building we had left an hour before to the White House we slowly trudged toward. A rainbow! Nothing could be more perfect. There in the midst of friends and friendly strangers, I felt connected in a way I never had before. And whenever I start to feel the ignorant bigots of the world get me down, I try to remember that rainbow and the words of my best friend, “I love that you are gay! In fact, I think I love you MORE this way!”


  1. This is a great story to send to people who think negatively of gay pride parades, marches, protests, etc. While they’re not for everyone, they are very important for many gay teens or gay people who are just coming out. Gatherings like the one in this story are often the first time a gay person truly feels part of a group and are welcomed with open arms. It’s quite an extraordinary feeling. Thanks for sharing, Sarah.

  2. This is the exact same feeling I get at gay pride parades…EVERY SINGLE TIME, even after 10 years of being out!! It’s an incredible feeling and I hope you have that feeling many more times Sarah.

  3. Yay! The six year old is my nephew, Asher! And the mom/colleague is my sister. Nice story–it’s cool that you had such a supportive and cool new city experience, and soon after you came out. I hope the DC community continues to please.

  4. Sarah, that day was really great. Being with you, Asher and all of the other like-minded people. I was proud to be the “straight supporter,” and even more proud to have Asher marching by our side. Nice story ( I could totally hear your voice as I read it).

  5. I grew up across the river from Dubuque, in Galena, IL.
    My best friend went to the Mormon church in Dubuque, actually…as you say, not exactly a town of diversity or tolerance. But, people can always surprise you.
    When I came out to my mother, she just went, “Yah think???” and continued walking upstairs.
    I survived High School, now I live in Chicago, and life is good. :)

  6. This is the first story i’ve read on here.. i’m glad it was.

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