Because I wasn’t around for the Stonewall riots, bathhouse raids or the Harvey Milk era I’ve always felt my idea of Pride lacked in actual substance. Like, there’s gotta be more to it than bitching over what to wear, what to do or who to kick it with. But things have changed since Orlando. The instant fortification of LGBT communities world wide mere hours after so many of our own horrendously lost their lives to hate was the first indication that the gay community I often refer to actually exists in the compassionate sense, not just the superficial. The feelings of terror, rage, heartbreak and helplessness was felt by each and every one of us. And we reached out to each other, comforted one another and stood as one in firm visibility to remind the world that we’ll fight to protect our right to live, to be ourselves and love who and how we want.
Up till now I see that I had absolutely no understanding of why we celebrate Pride. Despite reading about defining queer moments like the Stonewall Riots or queer visionaries like Milk and James Baldwin the feeling of community was missing. Pride was a messy disconnected maze of parities, extreme vanity and easily forgotten hookups. Pride wasn’t representative of me and seemed to cater specifically to the middle class white male with society approved looks- you know the type.
From the Orlando tragedy a new revived sense of community was born along with a renewed sense of Pride. One that overlooks class, race or privilege and one that’s enlisted powerful allies in opposition of homophobia, transphobia and hate. Pride for me is now about being thankful to the people before me whose resiliency paved the way for my freedoms today. It’s about making sure we nurture and preserve the rich history of our community and that we continue to push for change. It’s about continuing the legacy of activism and building a stronger community to pass to the next generation. It’s about remembrance, celebration and acceptance of ourselves and the community we belong to.
Happy Pride 2016!