This weekend New York City closes out 2008 Pride Week with the March down 5th Avenue into the Village. The 2008 theme–“Live Love Be”–is quite appropriate in this year where California has taken a huge step forward with same-sex marriage. And, honestly, what more could you ask out of life than to be able to live, love who you want and to simply just be.

It might seem strange to Geek Out about Pride, but it is an affirming time of year and an important state of mind.

Why is it affirming? For LGBT people everywhere, the Pride celebrations show that there are people like you out in the world. You see young and old, outlandish and conservative, athletes, performers, lawyers, policemen, the guy who runs the deli down the street, all races, singles and couples, parents and their kids all standing proud to say “here we are.”

And what about that state of mind? It’s so much easier to live when you don’t have to hide who you are. Some 13 years after coming out, I know that I hid my true self for years. That’s not a choice people should be forced into making. A common idea is that if more people came out, the better it would be for the entire LGBT community. That may well be true. But it’s a hard choice to make, especially if you live in a more conservative environment. But coming out can lead to one of the most important things of all–pride in yourself. It can be a pretty sad existence if you can’t be proud of yourself. And that pride needs to extend to all aspects of yourself, not just your sexuality.

Every year strides are made around the world for LGBT equality. California is just the latest step towards equal rights in this country. The battle continues in November when California voters decide if those married between now and November get to stay married or if they’ll be forced back into second-class status via a constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man/one woman. Will Californians be able to do that? How could anyone revoke the marriage of happy and proud newlyweds?

Of course when we are all equal, we’ll have lots to be prideful about!