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Pride Matters.

Pride month is here and once again it has been full of rainbow capitalism and overused hashtags.

Every June major corporations shift their platforms to inform us that on this month we do indeed matter. But where is their allyship the remaining 11 months of the year? Better yet do they mean what they say? For some the answer is no.

Alongside corporations, every June people hashtag away #pride #gaypride #ally and many more.

As society over stimulates the senses with rainbow flag crystalized clothing and hashtags, I wonder if we’re erasing the true root of pride’s existence.

When we close our eyes to define pride is this all we see?

Parades, countless individuals adorned in rainbows & parties

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I love Pride parades, I do. The first time I ever attended Pride I curled up into the arms of a marching PFLAG member and bawled my queer southern butt off — but, I wonder if capitalism and it’s glitz & glam has our minds distracted from the origin story.

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It’s been fifty years since Stonewall and as celebrations are ongoing to memorialize this milestone I am curious as to if we have erased the inner identity of pride. 

Pride was born through the grassroots movement of Queer Trans People of Color. It was a movement which ushered in the truth that yes, queer people exist. “We’re here. We’re Queer.” And, we will not be oppressed for being. Screen Shot 2019-06-19 at 3.54.31 PM.png

The first ever Gay Pride parade was born through Stonewall. Christopher Street Liberation Day, exactly one year after Stonewall, began at Greenwich Village and went 51 blocks up Sixth Avenue to Central Park. Reports at the time estimated between 3,000 and 15,000 people took part.

At the core of these celebrations was the truth of liberation. That being who you are wasn’t a crime, but a freedom all should be able to discover their identity in. No one has the authority to diminish one’s discovery of self or community.

Pride is identity on display. Pride is visibility. Pride is justice. Pride is needed.

This year for Pride I’m asking myself what does Pride mean to me. What definition would I give someone if they asked? What and where do I feel this pride in me?

 

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Recently, I shared a story of a moment with a neighbor from my apartment complex. And it jumpstarted my exploration of the questions I just named.

There’s an older gentleman who every afternoon in his veteran’s cap and cane rests outside of the Dairy Queen of my apartment complex. He appears rigid and shares few words with those who pass. Over the last few weeks, he’s become comfortable briefly chatting with me, my partner and my German Shepherd, Jack. It’s been pleasant to watch our afternoon routines evolve into expecting each other around 5 pm for hello’s.

Recently, I walked downstairs on a Saturday with Jack and he happened to be downstairs in his corner chair. He jumps up in excitement and walks over to me. He’s visibly thrilled to see me and as he walks over says, “I’ve been meaning to ask you a question…”

He stands mere inches from me and asks “isn’t it Pride month?” Startled and unsure of how to react I timidly answer, “Yes, it is.” He extends his arms in the air as wide as possible and let’s out a large, audible and visiable “Happy Pride!”

He continues to explain how he’s been waiting to see me all day just to wish me a happy pride.

In that 2 minute interaction I felt seen. I was so overcome by emotion that I was near tears. The pure joy of this man’s kindness and willingness to see me renewed in me, once more, how significant my identity in my queer body matters. Pride regained it’s meaning.

Universally, at our core, the desire to be valued, appreciated, loved and seen is present. For some our vulnerability (living) is a privilege. Even in the hard work of being vulnerable there is privilege.

To be vulnerable in our queer bodies is to risk the experience of shame, oppression, unjust acts of aggression, harm, loss of income, marginalization and death.

Brave space for many queer humans is stepping outside to live, waking up to breathe and owning into our bones our identity. It’s living into the truth that our queerness is sacred, deserves to be seen, needs to be seen and is one piece of a whole sum.

Too many QTPOC individuals are murdered in their communities for living into that brave space. Too many queer humans are brutally attacked for being. Too many youth are taken into closed door situations to be gas lighted and abused with religion as a weapon into denying their being.

Our vulnerability to live is resistance and for many it is dangerous to be seen. So, at our core, a fundamental right we have as humans to be loved and love is negated by hatred, misunderstanding, poor interpretations of scripture and power.

Biblically speaking God desires for us to know a few truths about creation (which includes our queer bodies)

  • That we are indeed – all – wonderfully made with no exceptions (Psalm 139:14)
  • We were created from the same breath, tasked to bear witness to the conscious of God’s dream for us and take hold to the intention that we were made in the image of God to live in harmony. Isolation is not the intention for humanity, but shalom is. (Col. 3:12-15; Genesis 1:27)
  • To believe in one’s worth, identity and to make a way for yourself & others (In Old Testament scripture we’re provided examples of how to restore worth to those placed in the margins. From leaving crops, to Jubilee year, to loving your neighbor – it’s clear God desires for us to know our worth as Children of God, discover our ways of giving into community that not only practices compassion, grace, mercy, etc on ourselves but offers it to others)

God celebrates our pride in what we are made of, as it is of the creator – including our queerness. That is something to celebrate, to not be erased or forgotten in our own understanding of our individual and collective creation. God has blessed this as good.

We are a portion of the creation of the creator. We were made to be prophets of the nations. In our queerness we are showering the world with the reminder that all things are indeed of and from God. There is more to God’s creation than what the eye can see or the perspective one has been given.

Perhaps we glorify God in our bodies by honoring the temple of which it comes from by not hiding or shying away into society’s created darkness, but by living, showing our pride in our uniqueness, living boldly into the creations we are and sparking a light which spreads faster than the darkness which strives to trap us.

By living into our queerness and showcasing our pride of this piece of our identity, we collectively replace systems which try to silence us. We regain power in our truth-telling. We allow ourselves and those along the way to flourish.

So how do I define Pride?

Pride is a feeling, act or belief that one’s worth is not wrapped up in societal norms, but within core being; creation. This core belongs to our truth & is shared by internal & external expression, love and gifts. Some may believe these are Holy gifts given by God. Pride is a vibrant color of the radical imagination of God breaking free and allowing liberation to take form. Pride is knowing of which we are made, how good that substance is and how needed it is amongst the light. 

Happy Pride, friends.

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