[Ed. Note — qnotes continues with this sixth installment of this special series by mother and son, Norena Gutierrez and Trevion Gutierrez. Catch up on all past installments online at goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com/youngpoz/. Names mentioned in the column have been changed.]

Trevion: My First Pride

I remember my first Pride. Oh my God, I think it was like the best day of my life. It was just a day where I can be myself, a day where I could relax, a day where I could just feel free.

Now, I would like to say that I didn’t do what a lot of people did, but I did. Yeah I was a total w**** the whole weekend, but it was fun and I felt free. I remember wading through the crowds and thinking, “Wow, this is really happening to me. I’m really here in the middle of all these people and no one cares that I’m gay. It’s just family.”

I was smiling constantly. There was no reason for me not to smile. The music was great. I met people and made new friends, and I was intrigued by the many different faces of the gay community because I honestly didn’t know we had that broad of a spectrum.

I met this guy. Eric Jamison was his name I think. And he was just the cutest guy I had ever seen. We exchanged numbers and texted constantly the next few weeks. I think my plan was to have him as mine…a boyfriend. But that was never his intentions.

The sex was great and I was not able to complain until a doctor’s visit confirmed that he had given me gonorrhea. And I think that will forever taint my memory of Pride.

I think that the gay community uses Pride as hookup day. If you wanna have sex so bad, get on Jack’d or Grindr…duh. Don’t use someone’s innocence and exploration as a way to exploit them. I was only 17. Yeah, I thought maybe I might hookup that day, but it wasn’t my ultimate plan.

So please, don’t be so into intercourse that you forget what Pride is about. Enjoy the family. Pride is about self exploration and freedom, not sex. Get online for that. : :

Norena: My First Pride

It was Trevion’s idea: Let’s go to Pride on Saturday!

I was grateful to be asked to do something with my then 17-year-old son when, clearly, “hangin” with friends is more important than ever at this age. Who wants to hang out with your mom when you are in the prime of your teenage years? No one.

We went early. I had $60 bucks for refreshments for the day and after paying $8 for a refillable lemonade, I realized it was going to be an expensive day just to have a hot dog. However, the air of excitement was contagious and everybody seemed so happy. There was this undeniable buzz of excitement. It was a beautiful Charlotte day when the humidity and the breeze is like Hawaii (sans ocean). I didn’t know what to wear though I thought about what “rainbow” items I might have — not a thing. So it was just a summer dress that I could keep cool in.

As we neared the parade route, I insisted on shade and something to lean on. We found it at the corner of Trade and Tryon while we wondered how you got to sit in those bleachers on the other side. I heard my favorite radio personality Chirl Gurl being her funny authentic self. I knew she was straight and married so I was thrilled to see the support from her to the LGBT community. Another straight ally like me, we are everywhere. We settled in with our elbow space as an early arrival and soon two men who later revealed that they were lifelong partners planning to get married as soon as it was legal, joined our patch of shade.

I shared that it was my first Pride parade and asked what I should expect to our new friends. Trevion rolled his eyes “It’s a parade, mom…geez.” But my new gay friends were cordial and shared that this parade could set a record outside of New York City as one of the largest gatherings, that it would be family friendly (as opposed to a NYC or San Francisco Pride) and that I could just relax and enjoy it.  OK. Good advice. Need more lemonade.

The parade began and I was enchanted by the creativity of the parade and the corporate sponsorships. The number of parade watchers quadrupled in minutes and I was caught up in the excitement. I looked over at Trevion, “What do you think?” He couldn’t take his eyes off of the magic before him. “This is so cool, Mom. I just love it and I just love myself right now.”

I saw the transformation right in front of my eyes. Later, we would discuss this moment and my son would confirm, “I am not the only one who is gay. I am not alone. It’s OK to be me.” And with that, the $8 refillable lemonade was a complete bargain. : :

— Norena Gutierrez is the adoptive mother of Trevion and his brother. Trevion is a student at Central Piedmont Community College. They can be reached at momandtrevion@yahoo.com.

Trevion and Norena Gutierrez

Norena Gutierrez is Director of Development and Communications for Red Feather Development Group, a non-profit located in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is the adoptive mother of Trevion and his brother. Trevion...