Pride: A Moment and a Movement
It was never just a party.
We’re coming up to a year since 2020 Pride celebrations all over the country and the globe were impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns. In big cities, college towns, and even the travel plans of rural queers who were headed out to join the fun and stand in solidarity, it was a Pride Month the likes of which we’d never had. And it was an intense month not to feel that sense of community: LGBTQ+ folks, particularly immigrants, BIPOC, and sex workers, have had an especially rough year. Young folks had to postpone leaving family homes that weren’t always supportive. Many queers are front-line workers. Many more lost jobs or were isolated and scared.
Nothing like a year of this kind to remind us why we need Pride, because these remind me of what it was like to be queer in the years before Pride.
Pride might be a party—but it’s not frivolous
Queer activism, from Stonewall to Marriage Equality, changed what it meant to be LGBTQ+ in the world--we can get married now, after all, and many straight people are our straight-up friends and allies. But those are just examples of the many inequalities experienced by the queer community; they are small victories fought for vs. a provided basic human right, which constantly keeps them in danger of being lost again. And not everyone equally reaps the benefits of that social change, and for queers in many countries around the globe, including the conservative segments of our own, that timeline looks . In some places, the train hasn’t even arrived at the station. In some peoples’ lives, things are going backwards.
Queer pride protects queers: It helps us forge a stronger self-image, learn how to recognize danger, and find safety in each other. We need friendship, love, and solidarity: that’s what Pride shows us, not just -cute dancers on a float or a sea of flags marching down the streets of our cities. It was never just a party. It's a moment in time where we can come together and get lost in completely being our authentic selves, unapologetically. Something not each of us gets to do on the daily or be celebrated for by anyone else.
And this year, whether it’s on the street or online, we need to return to the origins of Pride to protect our communities, to affirm that Black Lives Matter, to Stop Asian Hate, to support reproductive rights, to close the camps, to bring Marriage Equality to folks with disabilities, and house, not hide, our homeless like our Pride foremothers and true Trans leaders, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson once did. We lift each other up. We’ll do it through culture and creativity as well as politics; we’ll do it with allies by our sides. Most of us aren’t old enough to remember what life was like before the Pride movements that gave us hope—but our elders remember, and for some communities now it’s not a memory at all. We need to listen to them and support them.
It’s 2021, and we’re all hoping and needing a Hot Queer Summer full of love and pleasure, fun and connection, a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel. Enjoy it with every nerve! But we’re not “going back to normal” yet, because things are not normal and there is so much left to do. Feel the sun on your skin, mask up if there’s a Pride gathering in your town, and—as the Task Force likes to say—create change.