At Feeld, Pride isn’t just a moment. It is existential. Without its legacy as a protest and movement for LGBTQIA rights, there would be no Feeld; no space for exploration or curiosity or even asking the questions that are essential to living with fidelity to oneself and to connecting deeply with others.
Pride has been—and remains—a protest of radical roots. Oftentimes I see big corporations focus on the fun part of Pride because that’s what maybe feels safe; they look at the rainbows and colors and moments of celebration. Perhaps that feels less abrasive than a true reckoning with where Pride came from, and why we still need it. The reality is that there is still much more than discomfort: there is a real risk to people’s lives, a rejection of their identities and their choices that creates a constant state of threat. Being queer is still illegal in many parts of the world. In other ways and contexts, queerness is exoticized. You’re never just yourself. You have to live up to or under a certain perception.
All of that is to say: looking inward inspires a layer of grace and patience, a way of finding balance between the world as it is and the world we want to make. Anger is an emotion that I’ve often been afraid of, but looking inward has made me realize the value of anger when it comes to empathy. It’s anger that drives us to fight back for ourselves and each other. It’s anger that focuses us on the idea of fighting for your rights, your equality, your community. Then the act of fighting and the channeling of anger becomes, in a way, a responsibility.
I’m so grateful for the people in my life that taught me to do that, and it’s no coincidence that those are the people in my queer community. They’ve made me capable of turning disappointment and hurt and sadness and, yes, rage, into something that is the pure, red-hot, what the fuck energy I need to stay in this fight. Conversations with them have grounded me into not believing that the world is just the world and we have to find our paths; instead, we can see that we can be better and braver than just what already exists.
For people with privilege, looking inward is a time to accept that responsibility with acknowledgement and awareness about how we live out. I’m privileged in many ways, and this is a month to give space and support to others who need the safety and support for their full range of emotions: from sadness and rage to joy and celebration. With that space and support we can fight together to serve and honor all those feelings and all experiences.
Pride is an event, but it’s also a way of being. Celebrating queerness means checking in on our individual friends as much as it does advocating for true, deep societal change. It requires understanding and action on every level: in friendship and in partnership of all configurations. It must be practiced all the time, not as a calendar event and not as a duty, but as a commitment to caring for a collective human experience.
This month has been a tender one. So will all the times that follow. Take care of each other, friends.