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Pride, Wherever and Whoever You Are 🏳️‍🌈

By: Good Vibrations

 Pride GIF

Pride is Essential-

LGBTQ+ folks and allies may not be massing in the streets this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride parades in San Francisco and New York (and a lot of other places) — though we may still be filling the streets on Stonewall Day to fight racism, police brutality, and protest on behalf of Black Lives Matter. We remember and honor those killed due to anti-Blackness, including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Sean Monterrosa, Ahmaud Arbery–and especially, members of the LGBTQ+ community lost in this way, including Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Riah Milton, Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, and so many more.

As much as it might feel healing to enjoy a glitter-filled and celebratory Pride weekend, these recent deaths remind us that the work of justice is far from done–and reminds us that the LGBTQ+ Pride we celebrate today arose out of violent protest, methodical political and cultural work, and the energies of countless diverse Queer people.

As the famous “first brick” was thrown by Trans Women of Color outside the Stonewall Inn–setting off a cultural revolution–protests, uprisings, and actions surrounding Queer Pride were forming nationwide. The Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis, and Society for Individual Rights were among the earliest groups organizing for LGBTQ+ rights, setting back to the 1950’s. Even before Stonewall, Sex Workers, Queers and Trans folks fought back at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco and at Cooper’s Donuts in Los Angeles, to name two sites of resistance. 

So much has changed since then—few ordinary Queers dreamed in the ‘50s and ‘60s that we could take our civil rights issues all the way to the Supreme Court. Yet police brutality and social discrimination continue to impact our lives. As many of us continue to grieve the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting that happened four years ago, there are still LGBTQ folks who lived through violent attacks on our safe spaces, like the Upstairs Lounge fire, just four decades prior. And though the queer revolution was largely started by Black Trans Women, they are still the most likely to be attacked and killed because of their identities: This must stop. Standing together in Pride is really the first step. The fight is far from over.

At the same time, we acknowledge that some of that needed change IS happening, in increments great and small. The recent Supreme Court ruling that acknowledges LGBTQ+ people can be protected from employment discrimination is a huge positive step at a time when this is deeply needed. 

Pride may hold many different meanings for different folks, but there is one thing we can all agree on: Pride is essential. Why? It helps heal the wounds left by shame, whether that means shame instilled by social messaging or the person-to-person acts that comprise part of the burden Queer people (and others who cannot readily find support for their own sexuality) must carry.

Pride is a way to affirm the value of the LGBTQ+ communities and to push back against the shame and stigma that we face simply due to who we are and whom we love.

Recognizing and standing for our own identities is the first building block of community. No matter how you label yourself (or if you don’t), your identity is valid. We shine a light when we can unapologetically be ourselves, and we make more room for everyone to exist in our authentic sexualities and gender identities.

At Good Vibrations, we are committed to creating and maintaining a safe space and validating all consensually-engaged sexualities through pleasure. Good Vibrations has historically been a place for all communities, emerging as we did from the rich diversity- and identity-conscious culture of 1970s San Francisco. In the 1980s we stepped up to help fight AIDS and provide safer sex gear for everyone. Affirming identity and experience through inclusive education and workshops lets us focus on the sex-positive information that so many people don’t receive elsewhere. Many members of our staff identify as part of the LGBTQ+ communities as well; elevating the importance of Pride inside and outside our doors is something that exists year-round–not just June.

Celebrating Pride can take many forms, and although we won’t be taking the streets as we usually do, there are many ways we can still get our Pride on from our homes. Rock rainbows from the couch and glitter from the fire escape for a Prideful attitude. Just because we’re not going out doesn’t mean we’re not out, know what we mean? Don some gay apparel like colorful pasties for your video chat parties or choose a cute Julie Mollo clutch for showing your Pride attitude — vinyl is easy to wipe down for your post-social-distance hang out – or protest marching – disinfecting needs.

Sexual pleasure can be key to our experiences as members of the LGBTQ+ communities. Stay tuned in to safer play with barriers and lube. Flag your colors through play: Dildos and plugs sporting Pride flag colors let you represent your identity in silicone. Read up — Queer erotic books can distract and inspire, or choose cultural commentary, sex information, and more.

There’s no wrong way to celebrate!

In change, protest and in play, in celebration and in solidarity, Good Vibrations stands with you this Pride season.