The last time I went to the Gay Pride March was in New York City in 1993 or so. Fresh out of college, I was working for the Gay Men's Health Crisis on their Dance-a-Thon fundraiser, and I took my mom to the march in her wheelchair -- she had MS and could no longer walk or dance. It was amazing, and so cool to bring my mom into that scene she was peripheral to. Peripheral because she never really identified as a lesbian even though she was in love with a woman, and feminist enough to leave her marriage and follow her dreams.
Bluegrass came to me when I needed it most. I can honestly say that it saved my life. It twines around so much of me and where I am today -- my recovery, my sexuality, my community. It is the context in which I live each day.
If sixteen year-old Justin had stumbled upon a rainbow crafts table at that very first bluegrass festival he attended in central Ohio, his life would have been forever changed. His identity validated, not only as an orientation but within the bluegrass community as well, he would have confidently walked into each successive bluegrass festival proud of who he was without needing to doubt whether or not he truly belonged there.