“I don’t understand when I hear people say that they don’t want to get involved and then complain that they can’t get married. Well, think about that for a minute and go do your part!”
Because Pride is perhaps the most popular of the seven deadly sins, we are bombarded with the conflicting messages that we should, at all times, do the best we can, be our outmost best and then... feel ashamed and humble. Hmmm... I think I will drop this ancient nonsense and stick with the more accurate meaning of the word as it pertains to me. After all, if you believe the dictionary, “pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.”
Our community has had its share of shame and humbleness, most of it inflicted on us by people who fail to recognize that the only thing that keeps them from respecting an entire group of people is their excessive need to have everyone fit into their own mold of perfection. Ironic, isn’t it?
This subject came up when I chatted with Michael Golojuch, who has more than a few reasons to be proud and none whatsoever to be humble.
The Golojuch’s are well known in our community as a family that not only sticks together, but stands up for LGBT rights and equality for all. When Michael came out to his parents back in 1995, he couldn’t have imagined the consequences. Unlike so many unfortunate tales we hear, his parents took very little time to adjust. In fact, within four months his mom had revived a chapter of PFLAG [Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays] in O’ahu.
As it celebrates its 17th anniversary this year, PFLAG stands as one of the oldest running support group for the LGBT community in Hawai’i.
Studies have shown that acceptance by loved ones generates self-assurance, confidence and, you guessed it, pride in one’s own worth. Michael is a living example of this theory and a testimony to what love, combined with education and determination, can create.
Michael is not the type of guy who sits around waiting for change to happen. His full time job as Executive Assistant to the Deputy of Human Resources and Development allows him an insider’s look at the Abercrombie administration. But he is not simply watching. He is also Vice- Chair of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i, Board member and Special Events Chair for PFLAG and Advisor to Pride Alliance Hawai’i. These are just some of the things he does for our community.
There is no time for Michael to think about those who say he’s too deep into politics: “Our lives are politicized by everyday occurrences. What happens in politics happens to us! We need to stand up and testify that we are here, that our families matter, that our rights must be validated. I don’t understand when I hear people say that they don’t want to get involved <in politics> and then complain that they can’t get married. Well, think about that for a minute and go do your part!”
With all this going on, does he find time for a personal life? “Not at this time of the year! I’m getting ready for the Democratic Convention, looking forward to various political campaigns and of course, there is the Pride Parade.” As a board member and actively involved with ad campaigns, booth sales and all activities regarding the parade, Michael has been working overtime to guarantee a day that we can all remember. He was also involved in the selection of grand marshals. Out of 45 nominations, eight were chosen for the honors. Although a difficult job, it also has its funny moments. “We had a few nominations this year that made us smile,” he said. ”Someone nominated a neighbor for not treating him like crap anymore!”
It seems that Michael is more than qualified to answer the countless straight folks who asks us why we need a parade. And the answer is at the tip of his tongue: “We need to parade as long as there are people out there voting for the passage of Amendment 1 is why! Because of prop 8 and the continuous beating we take when it comes to our civil rights! We parade to remember, to fight back, to move forward and to show that we have NO shame in who we are!”
Yes, because indeed, we have Pride.