You may ask; why do the gays hold a huge parade once a year? Why do they flaunt all of that fabulous, rainbow love in front of everyone? Can’t they keep their sexuality at a “don’t ask, don’t tell” level of privacy? Well, the answer to all those questions is a big flamboyant “no!”

Think of it as our annual gay cotillion. Only instead of renting out a ballroom for the evening, we take over the streets for a day. And we hold our “coming out” party year after year. Why? Well, the one thing that makes gays distinctly different from other minorities is that we are the invisible minority–and so we can choose to not disclose our sexual orientation. (Whether or not people still pick up on the fact that we’re gay is another story). Some of us are “out” at work, at school, at home, in public. Some of us hide because we feel we have to protect our livelihoods and ourselves. But this is the one day of the year we all have the freedom to come out in full force with our Rainbow Family. And those among us who might otherwise feel like an isolated anomaly realize they aren’t alone.

I’m proud to be a lesbian. And, I’m proud to openly express the everyday things you may take for granted: discussing who I’m dating with co-workers, holding my girlfriend’s hand in public, gazing into her eyes like a lovesick puppy during a romantic dinner at our favorite restaurant, or kissing her goodbye on a city street when she gets into her car to drive away. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even brought up gay marriage, same-sex partner hospital visitation rights, serving openly in the military, or gay adoption–all essential equal rights issues that are currently under attack from our conservative opponents.

But on Pride Day, if we show our fabulous gay love and affection for one another without harassment from the general public–well, at least not until the naked guy in the banana hammock and pink boa dances by–then, that’s progress. Of sorts. We’re getting there. As Steve Jobs says, “You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

It’s Gay Pride this weekend. We’ll be the ones joyfully dancing down Colfax on Sunday morning. You kind of can’t miss us. So join us. It’ll be one hell of a party, I can promise you that.