“Gay Pilgrimage”

Hey guys! I hope your weeks have all been LOVELY. I’ve been a little absent this week because my girlfriend is visiting from Colorado, so of course I’ve been trying to soak up as much time with her as possible. We’ve been pretty busy and we’re about three-quarters of the way through her two-week visit.

For Memorial Day weekend we went to the beach with my family. We’ve gone to Rehoboth every summer for years, and if you’re from the East Coast, you might know that Rehoboth Beach is the “gayest beach”. A few years back my mom and I were exploring the town and we stumbled upon an LGBT bookstore called Proud Bookstore. At the time I was closeted and confused, so we left, but I’ve been curious about the place ever since. Each time I’ve found myself alone on the boardwalk I’ve wandered up and down, searching for it, being too nervous to look up the address and pretending that wasn’t what I was looking for.

Now I knew that I had to go back, as like a pilgrimage to my younger self who had been too nervous to go in and explore this part of who I was. It was actually so cool, and while there were a lot of things angled to gay men, the parts of the store that were devoted to women loving women were especially enjoyable. There were books that told stories about lesbian couples, photographs and postcards and magnets and greeting cards and sex books and advice books and on and on. This is my girlfriend with a little flag we found.

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All in all the place was really cool and we agreed that we’d never felt quite so able to be open anywhere before. I think it’s important that there be more LGBT-geared places that aren’t bars or clubs. Bookstores and cafes and restaurants, places that are geared to the LGBT community, should become more common, because it’s so important to have a place you feel you truly belong and aren’t judged at all.

So, to my younger self who was afraid to go into the bookstore and explore what it really meant to be part of the LGBT community: when you’re twenty, you’re going to go in with your girlfriend, and you’ll browse the books and talk and laugh and be completely comfortable, and you’ll wonder why you were ever afraid of this part of yourself. Just wait.

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