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As we approach Gay Pride 2012, we start to hear the rumblings (from the gay community itself) to the effect of “Why do we even need Pride celebrations? Nowadays we’re all over the TV and more visible and accepted than ever. Even Obama loves us now!”

While much of that is true, there are still religious organizations calling for blatant discrimination against us, as well as presidential candidates and a chunk of this country who’ve made it clear that we are still 2nd class citizens in their eyes. And for every out, proud, and headstrong gay adult, there are still those scared or confused gay kids (millions of them, actually) who are just coming to terms with their own truth.

As a gay teen, I had no idea there were other people just like me. Or that there was a place I could be and feel safe, let alone a yearly celebration that wasn’t hidden or shameful.

So our Pride celebrations are still essential, because they give us the opportunity to be among only friends, to feel 100% free to be ourselves without judgment, to rejoice in our uniqueness, and to discover that we can create a family with people we’re not even related to.

Many gay people in Born This Way have shared those exact revelations in their own growing up experiences. Perhaps someday very soon, the LGBTQ community will finally have complete and full equality. But until that time comes, we still need to gather together to remember our past and celebrate the possibilities of the future.

And yes indeed, look fabulous doing it!