I have such mixed feelings about Pride.
In many ways, the month of June is divided into two separate events. The Pride we see in department stores and alcohol commercials is the commodification and sterilization of generational queer perseverance and strength. It’s become the gay best friend holiday that normative society makes out with at parties without understanding the oppression that gets covered up by rainbows, unicorns, and Village People songs.
Don’t get me wrong, I could “YMCA” on the dance floor until I’m blue in the face, but real life isn’t Footloose: political change won’t happen if all we do is shake our tail feathers.
Despite the current administration’s support of LGBTQIA+ identities, there’s still so much work to be done (both domestically and abroad). We’ve made incredible strides in the 52 years since Stonewall, including marriage equality, greater protections in health care, and broader representation in the media. That being said, 2021 has been the most violent year against gender diverse people in recorded history (both physically and legally). LGBTQIA+ people still experience mental health concerns, suicidality, and homelessness at disproportionate rates compared to our cis-het peers. And despite understanding the pain of discrimination, many people within the queer community are still hesitant to support other marginalized folx or understand how intersectional identities contribute to or diminish individuals’ privileges.
The other Pride isn’t near as glamorous as parades, drag queen performances, and glitter bombs. It’s radical, revolutionary, and sashays with purpose.
It’s the forgotten names of LGBTQIA+ folx who were forced into concentration camps and experimented on during the Holocaust. It’s the queer people who were made scapegoats by McCarthyism, religious fervor, and medical and mental health zealots. It’s every person who has been forced into conversion therapy and every person who has had the privilege of a loving and unconditionally supportive home.
Pride is a celebration of overcoming adversity and finding happiness when the odds aren’t always in our favor. It’s a letter we write to our queer bodies and queer love in all their forms. It’s the allyship and support from others that have made our journeys possible.
Pride is a deep sense of self-acceptance and the culmination of years of work that went into getting to that point.
So, wherever you or your loved-one are in this journey, we hope you’re having a happy Pride.