For June’s blog, we decided to gather some thoughts from some of the Queer staff at Head/Heart about what pride means to them. There is such a range of what is important to us about pride and what it means to be Queer. See below for thoughts from Benji Marton, Ann Cain, Erica Fada, and John Codd.
Benji Marton, LCSW
Our rights to exist in this country are under attack; and, understandably, there has been so much pain, anger and confusion as a result. We have a right to feel those; but we also have a right to live and live as us, the authentic “us,” despite what they say or want. When asked what message she would send to young transgender kids who feel the erasure most pointedly, silenced Montana representative Zooey Zephyr responded, “please, stay alive.”
Pride, to me, is exactly that: staying alive. That is about taking up the space we have a fundamental right to. To show that we are here to stay; and not just survive, but to truly live. That means allowing ourselves to experience joy, connection, love, and, arguably most important-community. When they make us feel alone, they make us feel small, and life can feel untolerable. When we connect through community-we get to experience the power of togetherness.
Ann Cain, LSW
Pride to me is celebration and remembrance. I can’t get consumed by one or the other, but try to find a balance of both. I find so much joy in pride. I see people dancing, and laughing, and kissing, and enjoying lives built upon the hard work of those before us. I also remind myself to embrace and make room for the hard stuff. The people we have lost, the struggle and hardship that Queer folks have gone, and continue to go through. In both I find hope. There is so much to celebrate and so much we can still hope for.
Erica Fada, LSW, CADC
Pride to me is about two main things: the internal acceptance of who I am and the joy of being able to safely share my full self with others. Coming from a Catholic background, it took me a while to realize I was queer, but it also happened when I was on a radical journey of self-acceptance. I was already working on learning to accept and embrace all of who I was (and am), so integrating my queerness into my sense of self at that time was part of the process. I was also just about to start undergrad, so I used that transition out of my hometown to intentionally cultivate relationships with folks who loved all of me.
I also want to express that you can be proud and not out. You can be proud and hold your identity to yourself for safety reasons. You are valid, you are welcome, and you will find people and places that will let you be all of yourself, and it will be beautiful.
John Codd, LCSW, CADC, ATE, PEL
Pride month is how we celebrate our diverse and inclusive LGBTQ+ community. It commemorates the generations of struggle before us to get to where we are now and a reminder we still have a journey ahead. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what it means to live an authentic life. Pride serves as a reminder to consider the relationship we want to have with ourselves and how we want to relate to others. It takes a lot of courage to show up authentically in the world. Our efforts to re-discover and re-connect to our authenticity allow us to live our truth even if there’s little validation from family, traditions or society. Pride means being fully and entirely ourselves without feeling the need to turn parts of our identities’ ‘off’ depending on where we are. Pride is about working for freedom and safety for all. So everyone can feel connected to their truth and live an authentic life full of acceptance and nurturance.
As we go through pride month we hope that all of you queers can have time this month dedicated to celebrating you. Because no matter where you are in your queer journey, you deserve to take up space. There is so much pain in our community right now, we invite all of you to allow yourselves the joy of authenticity, community and connection.