So, four seasons, 12 months and 52 issues later, here we are again at Pride weekend. Sometimes it feels like a holiday, with all the stress and scrambling and cheer those entail.
But to me it feels more like a birthday, because in so many ways our Pride celebrations mark our growth as a community. It's a long-told tale that D.C.'s pride celebrations began long ago with a block party on S Street above Dupont Circle. You can chart the growth of the community — from just ''gay'' to ''LGBT,'' from a couple hundred people in a park to a couple hundred thousand people on the nation's main street — in much the same way as I've been charting my nephew's growth with pencil marks on the doorway of my kitchen.
Growth comes in fits and starts, but the growth is always there both for him and for Pride. And since growing means more than just a number, more than inches of height or sizes of crowds, both of them will always continue to grow. That's a good thing, because I believe Pride still matters.
Given the reason for the season, as they say, I wanted to point out a few of the things I'm particularly proud of this year.
Starting with the place where I've spent most of my time and energy over the past 12 years, I'm immensely proud of the talented and dedicated people who make Metro Weekly possible. The magazine has grown more than I ever dared hope when we created it, and more people than I would have imagined make it happen every day. You can see all of them just to the right of this column (or if you're online you can see them right here).
I'm proud of my husband, Cavin, because for every bit of growth I've seen in him, he's helped me to grow double. We are profoundly different in so many ways, yet similar in some very important ones. Writers are notoriously difficult people to deal with, so when we find someone who does so willingly we should be sure to brag about it.
I'm proud to be a Bugg because as I've gotten older I've grown to appreciate more than ever where I came from. Being young, gay and proud meant I wanted distance from my past; being older, gay and proud means I know my past is always present, and I welcome it.
I'm proud to be a Kintner, because even though I don't carry the name from the other half of my family, when I came out I found so much more love and acceptance than I ever would have dreamed of. Rural America gets stereotyped, often justly, but telling our stories and truths there does make a difference.
And I'm proud to be a Le by marriage, another family name I don't carry because, first, I'm a wildly narcissistic writer who's attached to his own name and, second, after a childhood of bug jokes I'm too old to go through a whole new batch with ''Le-Bugg.'' But, the same as my husband has helped me grow and change, so has his family. In a world where too many LGBT people are turned out from their families, I am incredibly fortunate to have been accepted into yet another.
Finally, I'm proud to simply be an openly gay man, one who knows enough to understand that I know very little. I still have a lot of room to grow.