Updated: Dec 11, 2020
While PRIDE weekend is normally a fun weekend for those allies supporting our LGBTQ++ friends and family with rainbows and parties and celebrations, along with our LGBTQ++ community, we have to stop and remember something.
It was not always fun, and still isn’t fun for everyone.
If you follow me on social media, you probably saw our Traci's Paws Pride post with Emee the Chi from yesterday, seen right below. I want to share this blog following Emee’s adorable “parade of one” that was still made with just as much love yesterday, but one that was clearly on the more lighthearted side in solidarity with my LGBTQ++ friends and family.
Today I want to remind my friends and allies to please be mindful of those who are celebrating Pride and bringing new light to it as well because sometimes we get caught up in the sparkle of the glitter and rainbows!
Do you know why we celebrate PRIDE weekends worldwide today, where it is deemed acceptable? People like my dad's friend Jean Tretter have created amazing works like his LGBT history collection The Tretter Collection, which is the largest in the United States and can be found in the University of Minnesota at the Minneapolis campus to help educate everyone on LGBT history. When I saw him in February, he had just come back from a talk and prepped for a show in March. It's a great resource for anyone who isn't familiar with LGBT history, just throwing it out there!
But getting back to the wonderful Pride weekend of celebrations in various cities across the world, it is still not all fun and parties for all who participate. For those of us allies, I know first hand how fun Pride can be. Just see the photo at the very bottom. But I want you to think about something for a moment. Just think about what it was like for each person from any particular family, from any particular generation. Someone who grew up with a super religious upbringing from the ’50s is probably going to have a very different experience than someone raised by a very liberal family from the late ’90s. But of course, that is just my own speculation, and from some of my own friends' stories they've shared, but you never know. But my point is that each person at Pride will have a different experience and be affected in an entirely different way. Each person may remember what he or she had to endure to get where he or she is today, and some roads were a hell of a lot longer and more painful than others.
I know one thing, Pride weekend is the biggest thing my dad looks forward to each year because he spent so much of his life looking forward to the day he could be his true and authentic self. Words didn't need to be exchanged; I will never forget the peace and happiness on his face when I joined him for his Pride celebration one year.
Many LGBTQ people lived a life of lies, pain, and extreme guilt and anxiety and still harbor those feelings. Hiding inside of themselves to get through life to prevent anyone from knowing who they truly were. In contrast, others fought the front-lines to advocate for their LGBTQ brothers and sisters and were physically beaten and murdered for standing up for what they believed in. Many watched as their loved ones and friends died from AIDS. Many fought for equality in the workplace and to have the same rights to get married as other couples. (and if you keep up, these laws are still pretty fresh after ALL this time!)
Many only dreamt of a day that weekends like this one would actually exist where they could celebrate hand in hand with their allies, families, friends, loved ones, partners, spouses, and the whole world in solidarity to say, “we are accepted and loved, and we are just like everyone else. We’ve literally killed ourselves to be accepted, for simply being ourselves.” And many never got to see this day.
While Pride may seem like a lot of fun full of parties and parades, don’t get me wrong, it is also so much more than this.
Please be mindful in knowing that there may be a lot of pain and sadness behind the eyes of many of these amazing people you see out (or in the photos & videos during the pandemic this year) and for their unforgotten predecessors who had to endure their long roads full of obstacles to make sure there would be a weekend for the LGBTQ++ community and allies like us to show our support and celebrate their lives.
More importantly, remember that this fight is still NOT over!
Members of the LGBTQ++ community are still being bullied and murdered. While we still celebrate our victories with Pride each year, the need for allies and support for our LGBTQ community must be every day!
If you feel like your heart is ready to be an ally, please reach out to your local LGBT community center and ask how you can help.
I was part of an amazing program, Young Professionals Council Academy class of 2014, with the San Diego LGBT Center that taught me all about LGBTQ history and laws and how to be a better ally.
You can learn more and see when they are looking for more applicants
here ----> San Diego YPC Academy Info.
Right below, I have included our San Diego Pride Video showing yesterday's VIRTUAL Pride Parade celebration if you want to see what goes into the day and life of the amazing people who facilitate and produce San Diego Pride festivities. I'm sure if you reach out to your local LGBT Center, you can volunteer with your Pride, too!
If you would like to volunteer in San Diego for next year, please contact them; I'm sure they'd love some help!
Yes! Sign me up to Volunteer with San Diego Pride!
Much love to all!