*BUT. The truth is that it's so much more than that.
So. Much. More.
It's not just a dance... or a birthday party.
Or a night out....
It's a huge piece of who I am.
A huge piece of what was missing....
And not just "it" ... but *you*. Each and every last one of you.
My first Inferno in March of 2013.... was the first time I had ever shared space with any of you lovely people. It was the first time I saw a butch or an MOC person or a femme... it was, in fact, the first time I saw two women kissing....the first time I saw two women grinding on each other...
Hell.. it was the first time I saw two women touching each other breasts where the breast feeding of a baby wasn't involved. (#momproblems)
That first dance was the first space where all those years of self hate and institutionalized self loathing suddenly ... didn't hold a space in my heart and my mind anymore. I stood in that room and I looked around and I knew without one single guilt ridden doubt... that *I* was okay. I suddenly understood that decades of confusion was really founded on the cornerstones of a conservative childhood - and not because there was actually anything "wrong" with being gay or a lesbian.
More than that.... I suddenly felt: normal.
And because of the space Hotflash/Inferno creates I knew I was.... welcome.
Two things every closeted gay kid dreams of....
But, that's wasn't all *you* did for me.
Not only did your visibility and your own bravery at being authentic and out and visible long before I had the courage to do so.... not only did it change me:
it changed my children.
My children got a (somewhat) happy Gay Mom who taught them about the value of humans and asking about someone's pro-noun and they quickly rose up filling the hole I had dug with decades of questioning and societal disgust and filled it with love and respect for everyone and trans* identified childhood friends.
Two years ago we rode on the Inferno Pride Parade Float and someone captured this picture of my son - proudly pointing to his t-shirt which said:
MY GAY MOM
What an amazing gift you all gave me .... for my birthday in March of 2013.
Now. That's not to say that everyone likes me.... lol.
That's not to say that most of you even know who I am outside of the lady who "takes the pictures".... (and does all the flyers and runs this here website)
But that's okay, too. Believe it or not... I know almost all of you by face or name. I know when you've missed a few dances and I do, from a very genuine place, always try to keep tabs on how you are doing.
Because the greater you... opened the doors, lit up the dance floor and welcomed me when I didn't even yet know myself.... how could I ever thank you?*
So. Long story short: *I* get a birthday Inferno... but it truly feels to me like a celebration of all the things, all the friends and all the family that Inferno has brought to my life... and I hope I will see you there.
*Also... TWO of you I actually DID introduce to each other and you're now getting married... so - that has to absolve some of my debt. :) MUAH! hahahaha