Pride is a time of celebration. When we in the LGBTQ+ community celebrate our identities, our voices, our love, and our community, proud to be who we are.
But Pride is also a time to reflect on the work left to do. Pride, like our community, does not exist in a vacuum. A celebration for some of us does not mean a celebration for all. The safety and comfort to choose to celebrate Pride — or not to — was built on the backs of some of the most marginalized folks among us, specifically trans women of color, the faces of Stonewall, where Pride began.
But this can be applied to any of the more marginalized among us; those who have benefited least in the LGBTQ+ movement. While mainstream gays have climbed to what they mistakenly believed was the highest rung on the ladder with our equal marriage win, our trans and non-binary siblings are still screaming just to be heard and to be seen, even by us.
Pride was never intended to simply be a weeklong party; not only is its pervasive drinking culture incredibly inconsiderate of our sober contingent, but it is, simply put, not what lays at the core of Pride. In order to continue to move toward a place where all are welcome, all feel safe, and all are free to be their authentic selves, Pride needs to be intersectional. It is important to acknowledge the multifaceted ways in which race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex, disability, sobriety, etc. affect the way we navigate in this world, and the way the world treats us.
It's important to remember that the first Pride parade was a riot.
Pride was born of a necessity to do activist work, to recognize, celebrate, and love our differences, and to create safe spaces for and alongside marginalized communities to ensure they are no longer silenced. We should use this time together, this week that is sacred to so much of our community, to show up for the people who have been showing up for us for decades. Why not take all of Pride's energy and channel it into creating real change for the folks in our community who have been told to wait their turn?
It's important to remember that this is an era where trans folks aren’t allowed to use the restroom. Where trans people face violence and murder at higher rates (particularly trans women of color—trans women have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered compared to 1 in 8 for trans women of color. An era when bi-erasure and bi-phobia are still very much present in our community. When ace folks, gender non-conforming folks, and non-binary folks have to fight for the right to be seen and their identity respected. When queer youth suffer from a higher rate of homelessness — 40 percent of roughly 1.6 million homeless youth are LGBTQ+. When the attempted suicide rate among transgender individuals is nearly nine times the rate of the general U.S. population. When conversion therapy is still legal—only eight states and D.C. ban conversion therapy. When providers offering comprehensive and safe healthcare are still few and far between and access is limited.
Because of all this, there is little to celebrate and much work to do to create safe spaces where those voices are uplifted and heard. Pride needs to bring awareness of these issues and foster activism, to rally the community to do that work so that there is a time when we can all celebrate the pride we have in being our true and authentic selves, freely and without fear. Because if the good news of Pride—that we all are worth living and fighting for—is not true for all of us, it is not truly good news.
Meredythe identifies as a trans-masculine, non-binary, queer, pansexual and uses they/them pronouns. Kylie identifies as a cisgender queer woman and uses she/her pronouns.