Pride Month and the Years that Came Before…

This is the month where we all celebrate our diversity along the rainbow.

I have a lot of things to say but not even sure on how to say them. I’d like to talk about the past, the times that brought us to here. And how we should be grateful those rainbow people who came after us don’t know the lives we used to lead and the troubles from the past but as it is always said, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Pride Month is the brain child of Brenda Howard. Tom Limoncelli said about her:

The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why Gay Pride Month is June tell them “A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.”

Tom Limoncelli, in BiSquish, July 27, 2005[12]
Brenda Howard was a woman who never stopped fighting the fight, even as she stood well within the “passing/acceptable” circle. She could have slunk along life and not stumble on one bit of conflict against who she was and who she loved but well, that wasn’t going to be how she lived. She was a powerhouse of will and activism and an example to how we should live.
Because in a lot of ways, we are still fighting to live.
There are people who lived and died to bring us to this point. The rainbow flag is steeped in blood as much as it is decorated in glitter. We have allies like Ruth Coker Burks who gave her love to those suffering from AIDS during the worst of society’s condemnation. And we have authors like John Preston, Joseph Hansen, Michael Nava and Lynn Flewelling who broke through virtual stone walls to publish remarkable, ground-breaking books.
Some of these authors are still with us, writing strong and pushing forward while others have left us, taken from life way before they could share everything we really needed them to give us. Some of our allies have taken slings and arrows themselves because people forget we cannot cleave off the people who stand with us. To everyone who says; this is not their space, I argue that it is. There are many allies who have bleed, broken many bones and sometimes even died alongside of us. Never turn away a friend because when your enemies gather about you, when you look around for someone to help you, they will not be there because you have driven them away.
Many tried to drive away Ruth Coker Burks and I think I can say with some certainty that the men and women she nursed as they died, never thought of her as being outside of their battles but rather someone in the trenches with them. Never forget that.
The readership has changed as the books have shifted. There still is a heavy presence of mysteries and romance with a bit of urban fantasy, fantasy and sci-fi lurking around the edges. Erotica with paranormal influences are another layer and while not everything is for everyone, there is definitely something for everyone.
Regardless of if they are on the rainbow or not.
I think we should remember one thing about Pride. It isn’t just Pride in being gay, lesbian, trans, bi, asexual or agender or anything else along those lines. It’s about being proud for being seen as a human being by those who stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we go about our day. We celebrate not just how we love but who we love.
What I want more than anything else in the world is for that rainbow and the people who stand beneath its glittering arch to be embraced by the world when they bring home who they’ve fallen in love with. There might always be a moment of… oh, I didn’t know but that’s okay. LGBTQ people make up a percentage of the population and aren’t the majority so it’s okay if someone says; ah, I didn’t know you were but please, show me the picture of your partner. It’s okay for people to adjust. To learn. To grow. To take some time to accept because they need to shift how they think about something but it’s the shifting that matters. That willingness to move towards understanding.
I am pretty gender-neutral, identifying as agender for what it’s worth. Or at least in my head, I don’t have a pink-blue divide and I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time in my life trying to shift over to pink… that traditional femme expectation (after pink stopped being a boy’s colour that is) and it’s been a struggle. It’s been a hard thing to accept. That where the fuck am I, who the fuck am I? Am I a construct of society with my gender or of my mind? These are not easy questions and I wish to God I had some answers. I get tired of the microaggressions and the tiny little battles that happen every day.
Thing is, I’ve come too far and fought too hard in too many other battles to fold in and do… well what do I do? Where do I fold? What do I become? Those are the same questions all of us ask, including those rainbow kids. How do you stop being who you are simply to bend around someone else’s idea?
Not fucking easy and well, very damaging.
So in this Pride Month, I ask of you a lot of things… go learn from the past, delve into things you may not know, embrace ideas that might challenge your foundation and explore the possibilities but most of all, learn to see where someone else stands because be someone an ally or on the rainbow, we are all in this together.
I don’t know what else to tell you. I can only hope we work not to set lines in the sand but to erase them because that’s how we got here to begin with… someone drew a line and we stepped across.
No more lines and be sure to love.
Stand with Pride. Celebrate with Pride. And most of all, Love One Another as best you can.

 

2 thoughts on “Pride Month and the Years that Came Before…

  1. Katie

    I needed to hear this. Thank you Rhys. I’ve been blessed with the trust of a trans child. After he decided to transition, I have found myself pausing when speaking to him and about him. I take a moment to line up pronouns in my head because I knew him first as a girl. I don’t want to stumble over a pronoun that could expose his privacy. I don’t want to sound doubtful of his identity. And that pause has troubled me. It’s made me doubt myself.

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