Pride: A Moment and a Movement
It's Pride season for a reason.
Pride feels different this year.
It's an intense time: The US is taking a truly frightening rightward turn, impacting abortion rights, the wellbeing of trans kids, and our freedom to read. Marriage equality doesn't feel safe now either.
LGBTQ+ folks, particularly immigrants, BIPOC, and sex workers, have already been having a rough time. Our elders and some disabled folks may have been especially isolated lately. And now, on top of all that, right-wing laws are being passed and put all of us at risk.
Times like these remind us why we need Pride, because they remind us of what it was like to be queer in the years before Pride.
We need to remember this: Pride's not just a party.
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 the members of the queer community experience many inequalities; we've fought and won some victories, but it can't be said that we all have unquestioned basic human rights. As we see all too well now, that means these life-affirming changes are in constant danger of being reversed. Remember, too, that not everyone equally reaps the benefits of social change: For queers in many countries around the globe, including the conservative segments of our own, life--and rights--looks very different in spite of five-plus decades of activism. 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 scantily-clad hotties on a float or a sea of flags and banners marching down the streets of our cities. It was never just a party. It's a moment in time when we can come together and get completely lost in celebrating our unapologetic, authentic selves. That's something not everyone gets to do on the daily or be affirmed for by others in their lives.
And this year we need to return to the origins of Pride. We must protect our communities, affirm that Black Lives Matter, Stop Asian Hate, defend trans kids (and their supportive families), secure reproductive rights, close the camps, support our elders and those with disabilities, and house--not hide--our homeless, just as our Pride foremothers and Trans leaders Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson once did. We need to 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 2022, and we all need a summer full of love and pleasure, fun and connection. We so need a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel--if we can't see that light yet, we'll settle for marching together in the sun. In big cities, college towns, and progressive communities everywhere, people will gather. We'll welcome the rural queers headed out to join the fun and stand in solidarity with their community. We all need to recharge.
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—get out there and create change.