Towards the end of the Spring Semester I was asked to share a reflection at a vigil in celebration of Pride. In honor of Pride Month I wanted to share my ramblings—you, me, us, we are pride!
We are Pride
A queerfelt muchas gracias to you all for your presence tonight.
Tonight we are pride! Tonight we celebrate all of who we are! Tonight we lift up our queerness, our rainbows, our LGBTQliciousness…we lift up our pride in who we are, who we have been, and who we will become.
I often get asked, is being a LGBT choice? Many have responded to this question with, why would anyone choose this life? Choose the hardship? Choose the discrimination? However, most recently I’ve decided to rant to the world…Why NOT choose being queer? I am not ashamed and there is nothing wrong or less than for being me, or being you, or being us.
We need to take pride in our isness and should not, cannot, will not feel shame or have folks through misguided shade. I honestly don’t think LGBT identities are choices, however, if I could choose I would choose queer everyday. This is not to undermine the experiences of hardship that we have experienced…discrimination, rejection, isolation, violence, confusion. But I also have done some incredible things like getting arrested for civil disobedience, getting to hang out with folks who teach me everyday about beingness, getting to join my voice to the countless others advocating for all are welcome to truly mean all are welcome at OHIO and beyond its fun being a colorful thorn in the side of some of our student, faculty, staff, and administrative leaders on campus.
I don’t want us to feel bad about ourselves or for others to take pity…hell the fuck no to pity, I want people to be proud of us and for us to pridefully chant…we are here, we are queer, and we aren’t going anywhere!
Tonight, this week, and other moments of Pride are not at the expense of the challenges and tragedies we have endured as a community…
- The murders of trans women in the United States and around the world
- The microaggressions that students experience everyday in the classroom and other spaces on our campus and all OHIO campuses
- The reality that yes we can get married but we can be fired in 30 states and executed in 7 countries.
- Folks who are being targeted for being LGBT, with little or no recourse from our community
- The white washing and heterowashing of the radicalness of LGBTQ folks and our contributions
- The kids who are kicked out of their homes for living and loving beyond the norm
- The countless and often unknown victims of sexualized violence who identify as trans or gender variant or queer
- The misrepresentation and otherization of our vibrant and diverse community in the media and other social networks
Claiming and reclaiming that we are pride is a re-energizer to continue to counter violence. We are pride and honor with pride
- Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and all those who refused to be bullied and silenced at Stone Wall
- The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2010 and June 26, 2015 when marriage equality became the law of the land.
- Though we may have our critiques of her, Caitlyn Jenner has opened the door for conversations around trans identities throughout the United States.
- Laverne Cox was on the cover of Time Magazine
- Abby Wambach has a freakin’ Barbie made in her image
- A Mya Taylor, a trans woman of color, was the center of a campaign for an Oscar Nomination for Tangerine.
- Nike created a sneaker in honor of Pride Month
- The Legend of Korra celebrated bisexuality
- OHIO has and is and will be taking steps to fully live into diversity and inclusion…we have an LGBT Center, Gender Neutral Housing, LGBTQ Studies Certificate, Name and Pronoun Policy, trans healthcare for students, and we are moving forward with a new LGBT Living Experience and Gender Inclusive Restrooms.
We reflect and we remember our heroes and sheroes and “insert-gender-neutral-pronoun-roes”…
- Gloria Anzaldua
- Albus Dumbledore
- Bayard Rustin
- Ellen Paige
- Frank Ocean
- Carmen Carrera
- Langston Hughes
- Harvey Milk
- Alice Walker
- Neil Patrick Harris
- Zachary Quinto
- Tom Daly
- Laverne Cox
- Margaret Cho
Trail blazers past and present, who spark and kindle our commitment to embodying #bobcatrainbowwarriorfierceness. We take pride in our journeys of living and expressing who we are…we honor all of who we are, our bloopers and our triumphs as individuals and as familia…we take pride in our efforts to embody being a rainbow in the clouds of others…we take pride in our goods, our bads, and our freaking awesomeness!
We are pride! All of us without exception IS fabulous, fierce, glitterful, amazing, unicornlicious…
We are pride…we are here…we are queer…we have always been here and we will always be here.
Cheers and queers! Muchas gracias!