The atmosphere of this duel made the fact that the pandemic had largely thwarted the Pride Month – exactly five decades after activists put together Christopher Street Liberation Day in New York City, held to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots – felt even more profound.
For 22-year-old Em Panetta (who is not a layman and takes the pronoun “they”), this June will mark a consequential moment: Their first pride.
“The past year, starting last summer, has been a big moment for me, so this summer should be a very pleasant time for me – time to travel to New York City (from the Philadelphia area) and get out with my community, rather than sitting in “As I have done for the past few years,” Panetta told CNN.
Panetta continued: “Because the Pride celebration was immediately canceled, there was a slight process of grieving. It’s hard to know that you have almost this special experience.”
. This is an assumption that Ethan Johnstone, 38, is a founder and builder of a prominent community Pride Link
, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of LGBTQ people in the Upstate area of South Carolina, was also used to illustrate the absence of this year’s Pride.
“Pride offers me the opportunity to be who I really am and be free from worries whether I will be seen in a certain way or have to respond to comments or harassment,” Johnstone said. “The first pride I went to was in Spartanburg, after I came out as a trance. So for me, this is an event rooted in authenticity.”
“Not having this summer,” added Johnstone, “made him feel as though most of my years were gone – the excitement of getting ready and figuring out what I was going to wear and meeting people. There was sadness about being lost all about it. “
Missed political opportunity
Sometimes, the season can be more political. It is not difficult to see the reason: Although at the beginning of his term of office, President Donald Trump tried to establish himself as the preserver of LGBTQ rights – “(I) am determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” he said in a January 2017 statement
– his government is almost unfriendly to this group.
A 2019 ProPublica Report
about the Trump administration’s track record on the LGBTQ problem “found dozens of changes that represented a deep reshaping of the way the federal government treated more than 11 million American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” These changes include the protection of LGBTQ that is reversed, dropped, deleted, and withdrawn in various fields ranging from employment and health care to criminal justice and public life.
“Pride is an important part of our political outreach,” Kit Malone, 45, an advocate and educator at ACLU from Indiana
said “This is where we make connections with other organizations. This is where we make connections with individual LGBTQ individuals who just want to know more about their rights.”
In places like Country of Mike Pence
, coupled with conservatism so that strange experiences often look different than in more progressive areas, the significance of Pride can increase dramatically. Especially for those in small towns, one month can bring to life, in a safe way, the watchword of so many civil rights movements: visibility
“We tracked nearly 20 rural Pride celebrations in Indiana. They went from sober in a park shelter to The Spencer Pride Festival
, which has been featured in national news and attracted thousands of participants from all regions, “said Malone (because Covid-19, the festival has been postponed).” This meeting helped us find strange people who might be underserved, who might not have a room where they could celebrate themselves safely. ”
“When I think about Pride cancellation victims,” Malone continued, “they are the people I think about – people who don’t live near big cities, who might not have access to gay bar
, which may suffer a greater degree of isolation. “
Far from friendly environment
, a simple Pride presence can have political valence. Todd Leslie is avuncular, 71, reflected in the 1980s, when he traveled with university-age LGBTQ people to line up in Florida, where he lived, and so on.
“I know that sounds ridiculous today, but these kids, as I call it, have to muster up the courage to do this,” Leslie said. “One year, I took the group to a parade in Jacksonville, which was very conservative. We were in the park, and there were many people who protested our existence there. The children were nervous and uncomfortable – and they stayed that way until Dykes on Bikes
appear. “(He says this last part with a warm laugh.)
As Leslie can see, everything that can be taken from you is political: “The essence of Pride is the idea of not taking for granted the things that are hard to win.”
Outdoor activities have been canceled. But that does not mean that the spirit of Pride has been completely thwarted. As has become common during pandemics, several celebrations have moved online
– stand-ins are not perfect, but those that speak with LGBTQ endurance.
For example, in May, the New York City Pride announced that there would be virtual drag show for three days
from June 19 to June 21, featured more than 100 players, including the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumni. In addition, actor and co-creator “Schitt’s Creek” Dan Levy will be one of four grand marshal, and singer Janelle Monáe and actor “Pose” Billy Porter among the cast, for June 28 special broadcast
In particular, the pandemic has forced other talks about how to improve Pride observations.
Fifty years later, the event had “developed into something impossible to escape from many of the most dangerous aspects of consumption and capitalism,” writer and professor at Northwestern University Steven Thrasher tweeted in April
, following the announcement of a direct Pride celebration which was mixed.
“We need something new to overcome the labor, environmental, anti-racist and economic challenges of LGBTQ people,” Thrasher said.
For decades, criticism of Pride – how it tends to enhance only a narrow set of LGBTQ experiences, how it is overloaded with police – has inspired alternative celebrations.
After being marked for years, DC Dyke March
, which was first held in 1993 to embrace activism among strange women and underline the strengths that are different from embankment
as a political marker, returned last June. This is not affiliated with Pride. The aim is “to focus trans people, queer, lesbians and other dyke identities” ignored by the mainstream LGBTQ movement, as is the Facebook page for online organizing this year, Dykes Go Digital said.
“When I think of Pride, I think of many Prides,” Preston Mitchum, 34, Washington-based nonprofit policy director URGE: United for Reproduction and Gender Equality
, said CNN. “We have Black Pride. We have Trans Pride. We have Youth Pride. My heart is breaking because I don’t see the excitement, clothes, and friends. But because we can’t have this this summer, I hope people will understand that corporations don’t make Pride great. Communities do it. “
Indeed, it seems that this communal spirit some organizers make use of it as they regain the roots of Pride activists
to support the current Black Lives Matter protest against police brutality.
Mitchum added: “Nothing good will come from a preventable deadly pandemic. At the same time, people have the opportunity to re-evaluate what, exactly, they need from their community – and for themselves. They have the opportunity to dream different. “
One way to think of a pandemic is theft. In just a few months, it has robbed so many people: career, life, small but also big pleasures
. In all it is a dark intimacy, especially for some people. To be strange in America means to recognize similar losses, because of the bigotry and neglect that the country has been carrying out for years.
But being weird also has to get acquainted with what can happen after that loss: kinship and connections that can transcend almost anything.