Pride season is upon us, babes. And as much as I love dousing myself in glitter and skin tight outfits for celebration — the history of this month is rooted in resistance. Pride was born out of necessity. Pride was born of out queer rage. Pride was born to be a remembrance for all the things we’ve overcome and all the work that is yet to be done so that we can all live fully and be given the opportunity to thrive in our existence.
This year, it feels particularly important to keep that focus at the center of all of our Pride marches, events and parties. Within the last year alone, our community has seen so many setbacks and restrictions of rights — from rolling back healthcare coverage for trans people to stripping incarcerated trans people’s protections against rape and sexual assault to DACA being rescinded and the passing of FOSTA and SESTA. These are just listing a few. And the common thread of all these heinous actions implemented by #45 is that they impact the most marginalized in our community already. This reads as a direct attack on those already lacking basic protections and rights in our country.
“Let’s not forget that trans women of color have lost their lives, have fought in the streets, have fought the police with their heels, with bricks, with bottles so that we can march today.” Lourdes Ashley Hunter, founder and executive director of Trans Women of Color Collective, told Think Progress.
I know that finding space and time for celebration amidst the terrifying reality that is our current political backdrop is vital for survival. It always has been, because queer and trans folx have never been fully safe in this country (yes, even during the Obama administration). Our lives have always been filled with struggle, trauma and pain — in addition to boldness, love and unity. Part of the beauty of being LGBTQ is that we can still throw glitter and six-inch heels on to feel in the moment with one another — in love and pride.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t go out for all the Pride celebrations. I’m not saying we shouldn’t meticulously plan our outfits for each event. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be making out and dancing in the streets at the marches. What I am saying is that we can find ways to integrate resistance and activism into our celebrations. If you see me out and about at a Pride party this year, introduce yourself and let’s talk racial and immigration injustice! Let’s talk queer history! Let’s talk about access to healthcare! Let’s talk creating new systems in which all LGBTQ people are afforded the opportunity to thrive!
1. Rally with your community to learn about our history.
Who makes up your community? Is it a small group of friends? Or maybe a large gathering of folx who all know each other from the local watering hole? Whatever LGBTQ community means to you, create time this Pride month to spend with them. So many of us don’t know our queer roots because we’re taught not to — that it’s dangerous to examine our LGBTQ ancestors. This Pride season, pay homage to all those who came before us by learning about them and the work they did so we can exist and be out today.
Host a screening of your favorite LGBTQ documentary, visit the Lesbian Herstory Archives in NYC or the Leather Archives in Chicago, have a LGBTQ history trivia night at your local bar, host a panel discussion. There are so many options for how we can rally together as a community and honor all of the pride that has preceded us.
2. Join “No Justice, No Pride” actions.
No Justice, No Pride is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. Their goal is to go back to our roots and reclaim Pride from capitalism. They popped up last year and organized a resistance to Capital Pride with their own Equality March. Many groups around the country followed suit and organized disruptions with the goal of bringing back the grassroots focus of how Pride started at Stonewall in 1969. Many of the No Justice, No Pride contingencies are loud and proud about their messaging addressing police violence against QTPOC and all of the violations of rights continuing under the current administration. You can join their efforts this year, find out more at their website.
3. Talk about resistance at parties and celebrations.
We deserve to party, to let lose, to feel liberated in the moment. But when you’re taking a break from dancing and drinking — catch up with your friends about the latest actions they’ve taken. Ask them what they know about the history of Pride. Say the names Silvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson and Daughters of Bilitis. It’s their legacy that we carry forth in our sweaty, glittery bodies.
4. Show up for the rallies and marches.
Mark on your calendar the Dyke March — which has always been a day of resistance and unabashed womxn pride. Also be sure to attend and support the 14th Annual Trans Day of Action. LPAC is also celebrating pro-equality leaders with their Levity and Justice for ALL event. I know it’s hard not to be hungover from all the cute Pride celebrations, but these events need our support too.
5. Organize a post-Pride community gathering.
Carry on your conversations of resistance and justice for all beyond Pride season. Plan a potluck at your apartment and invite all the friends you made at Pride. Talk about how you’re going to work together to continue to fight back against the powers that be — the systemic forces of oppression. It truly takes a village.