Scroll To Top

This Pride Season Is Different

Drawing strength from Pride

When we look back at 2017, let's be proud of how we responded and resisted, writes Rea Carey of the National LGBT Task Force.

Pride means more this year for millions of LGBTQ people, our families and our allies. Yes, it is a celebration. But, it is also a powerful showing of resistance. We are harkening back to our 1969 roots at the Stonewall Inn, where the most marginalized members of our community fought to have the right to be themselves. People of color, homeless young people, drag queens, butch lesbians, trans and gender-nonconforming people resisted and said, "Enough!" This year at Prides across the country we are, once again, insisting on our humanity.

At this time last year, we were in shock about the Pulse massacre. A few months later came the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. As hate speech escalated during the election and continued since November, the intensity and number of hate crimes against LGBTQ people, Muslims, immigrants, and others skyrocketed.

So many in the LGBTQ community have long experienced the injustices that have become more overt and public now. Much of this isn't new, particularly to poor people, people of color, women, immigrants, transgender, and Muslim LGBTQ people -- it's just that it's on the front pages now.

We are also witnessing the systematic dismantling of 40 years of our work to make progress through government and agency policies -- especially the eight years of progress under President Obama. Our community, already vulnerable, has become even more vulnerable with the recent changes in the federal government.

And, yet, here we are in all of our strength, resistance, and fabulousness at Prides across the country.

We, as humans, are born with the ability to resist. Children, even before they have language to do so, know exactly how to express themselves. To turn your head away from mashed peas or, better yet, to fling them against the wall are among our first acts of defiance. Our first acts of being ourselves. As a kid, mine was that when faced with a box to check off as a "boy" or "girl," I crossed off both and wrote in "tomboy." We do not have to learn how to resist; we just need to tap into it. We are born with what we need -- individually and collectively, to resist, to survive, to stand up and stand together.

This year, Pride is an invaluable opportunity to be together when our world seems more and more divided -- to be with other LGBTQ people and allies whose lives have been deeply and negatively impacted by the social and political climate in this country and by Trump-Pence policies.

The insistence on being who we are is at the core of transformational resistance. Resistance that is about what we refuse to accept, but also includes our vision and hopes we have for the future. Transformational resistance is when we build a movement that brings us to an even better, more connected place than where we began.

To survive and to thrive in this time, we will need to stand together like never before. Our resistance is required, and our insistence on hope will be among our most radical acts in the coming years. Radical, loving, fierce hope.

We have been tested and will be tested in our hope and our resolve to stand together. There is enormous pressure on all of us to be divided from each other, to turn against each other, rather than to use our energies and power to fight the existential threats posed by this administration.

We know how to rise to these challenges. While we have never seen an administration like this in our lifetimes, our community has been here before. We and many of our ancestors have been here before, whether fighting slavery, fascism, the genocide of indigenous peoples and culture, McCarthyism, or the government's complicity in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from AIDS. We know how to organize and to sustain each other. We are a resilient people.

As we celebrate the last week of Pride season, take a moment to look at the people around you. It is deeply important that we are here, together.

No matter what Trump says, this administration has not and will not be a friend to LGBTQ people and our families. As immigrants, people of color, Muslims, seniors, people who are incarcerated, as bi and transgender people, students, poor people, LGBTQ people, we are all under threat.

If there were ever a time to fight for something bigger than yourself, now is that time. If there were ever a time to take seriously that the very notion of democracy is being reshaped into something that is a far cry from anything democratic or participatory, today is that day.

We all attend Pride events to celebrate, to be sure, but we know that our work for freedom, justice, equality and equity is far from done -- not in any state, not in any jail, not in any immigration detention center, not in any school, not in any reproductive health clinic, not in any place of worship, not in any voting booth, not on any street where a trans woman gets attacked or a black person gets shot. Nowhere.

The choices we make today will affect generations of LGBTQ people to come. When future generations ask, "what did you do in those years when fear threatened hope?" You can say, "I stepped up."

We must join together to transform deep pain and disappointment into a renewed sense of purpose. From pride to the power we need to restore, sustain and advance the progress we have made and have yet to make.

United. Undivided. Together, we will move forward toward justice and freedom.

REA CAREY is the executive director of the National LGBT Task Force. Follow her on Twitter @rea_carey.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Rea Carey