Creating Our Communities Together This PRIDE Month
As a queer community, we have an opportunity, simply by living our lives for ourselves and sharing pieces of ourselves with others, to bring communities together. This PRIDE Month, as I reflect on the purpose of the month, I am reminded about the strength a community can make for another. We’ve spent the last year or so battling the unknowns of a disease and unifying around the questions we all carried as a human race. In an oddly similar vein, PRIDE Month is about bringing together communities, unifying something once broken, and sharing together in the limitless possibilities of what we can do together.
Our queer community is one that is a diverse community of human beings in and of itself. And this is where our queer community and our non-queer community intersect – we are all made up of a group of human beings with likes and dislikes, with kids and no kids, with jobs, and homes, and resources, and the list goes on. In 2020, the Census Bureau reported that in the United States, there were 543,000 same-sex married couples, 469,000 same-sex unmarried couples, and 191,000 children living with same-sex parents. PRIDE Month, for me, isn’t all about rainbows and parades, though those are fun and necessary too, it’s about continuing to bridge our cisgender families with our queer families. And for me, doing so happens when I live out loud with my queer family and through the articles I write. Nothing good has ever come out of someone being silent or pretending that bad things don’t happen in this world.
I share about my family in written word because how powerful are words? Your cisgender family is no different than my own queer family. We pay our bills, we sign our kids up for extracurricular activities, we register for summer camp and we go to the grocery store – just like every other family out there. Our needs are the same and what I envision this PRIDE Month is for our hope for a more just and equitable world to be within reach for all of us. I am grateful for our allies and for our queer community, those who feel safe to do so, to continue to use your voice and your privilege to speak out and speak up.
In an interview with LAMBDA Literary, writer and professor, Roxane Gay shares about her own voice, “Accepting myself, how I see the world, not apologizing for myself, which is something I think women do with alarming frequency. We apologize for our existence, for having opinions. I am trying to do less of that, and to be gentler to myself and to other people.” We can do this too. We can be both gentler to ourselves while keeping in mind the feelings of others. We can choose kindness over hate. We can choose compassion over indifference.
We must remember that as a community, we have power. We must remember that as a group of human beings, we have the power to bridge two different communities and get to a place of understanding which will lead us to a place filled with compassion all of which will be fueled by respect. In the words of Alice Walker, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” We have the power to build up communities together instead of doing so apart. PRIDE Month provides us all with a unique opportunity to go within, to reflect on the kind of humans we want to be for a stronger community. It also provides us with a time to learn from our queer communities and to incorporate words that will educate our own families (queer or cisgender) about the queer communities surrounding us. About the trans homes and families, about the nonbinary families around us, and about every family in between. Remember, we have the power to improve our world and it starts with our words.