A Reflection on Pride 2018
Happy pride! Well… post pride…
I’ve been wanting to write some sort of post about pride month since June first, but haven’t really been able to put together any coherent thoughts. Now that pride month has officially come to a close, I’m trying to piece together my thoughts and convey why pride is so important, in many ways.
Pride month, for me, means being more visible to the rest of the world. Putting ourselves out there and saying “we are here. see us. hear us.” But it also means coming together as a community to celebrate who we are. Having that sense of community and belonging is something that has become increasingly more important to me, as I have realized just how much I need and cherish my community. It’s a time when I feel like I am 100% myself. It’s so great to see so many people coming together at different events throughout the month, and it’s something that I really miss once June comes to an end.
This year I went to a handful of pride events, and other LGBTQ+ events that weren’t necessarily associated with pride itself. Some events were insanely powerful and moving, while others were just goofy and fun, which I think created a nice balance for me. While I love the fun and light-hearted atmosphere of PrideFest and the annual pride block party, I always feel much more connected to the community when things get a bit more serious, a bit more emotional. The more intense events are extremely important in strengthening this community, and I think that’s something that is getting overlooked more and more.
Events like our local Pulse Remembrance March, and open mic nights to tell stories about our city’s oldest LGBTQ+ bar that is set to close in October. These events can be hard to attend, and I bawled my eyes out at each one, but they are so so important. These events are what keep our community strong and fighting. I’ve never felt more close to a group of people than I have at these events. A group of people coming together to mourn without being pushed into the dark, coming together to fight to save a place many people call home. Now that’s what I call community.
Sure, it’s important to be able to go out and celebrate who you are, and I definitely have fun at the more light-hearted events, but it seems like pride is becoming more of a party than the protest it was meant to be. Especially in my area, pride is very centered around cisgendered white gay men. It leaves out a lot of members of the community, when it should be uniting all of us. In all the events I attended this month, the ones that weren’t actually associated with pride itself were by far the most inclusive and diverse. This is a time where we need to fight for those being left out and left behind by the LGBTQ+ community. We need to come together and fight for the trans women and people of color who are being left out by “feminists.” We need to come together and stand up and fight for everyone in the community.
I’m still struggling to really put all my thoughts in one place, but the moral of the story here is that we need to continue fighting. Yes, we are allowed to take time to celebrate and have fun, but we also need to remember what work still needs to be done. It’s finding a balance that makes pride what it really should be.
With all this being said, I am proud of who I am, I am proud of my community, and I’m so grateful for everyone in it. I’m thankful for those spaces where I can just exist and be myself without even giving it a second thought. Places where I can look around and see other people like me. There are ups and downs, but I sure am proud to be part of this community.