Seattle Pride (Orlando, Part II)

[Originally published on Facebook. Names have been removed to protect my friends’ privacy.]

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Seattle Pride’s theme this year was “the future of pride.” I didn’t give this much thought at the time, honestly, but now that it’s over, I’m thinking back on my impressions from this weekend and how the threads of the theme are weaving together.

I remember the beautiful trans women, the queer folks holding hands, and the woman in the rainbow gear and a Black Lives Matter t-shirt on Capitol Hill. I remember the booths for homeless shelters for LGBT teens. I remember the sacred space of the interfaith Pride service. I remember feeling elated at the Seattle Public Library’s display of LGBT Children’s and YA books.

I remember the really cute older gay couple eating ice cream in the Seattle Center and the always delightful older lesbian couples walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk. I remember spending time with my friends—both queer and straight. I remember trying to cheer up a straight man from Spokane who’d been ditched by his buddy. I remember a mix of straight and queer men teaching me how to follow in blues dancing.

And I remember feeling out of place in a bar filled with somewhat older gay men who were overwhelmingly white. I remember feeling unsure if I would be welcome at Saturday’s Dyke March. I remember a trans friend’s frustration at the folks who wouldn’t listen to their stories of violence against the trans community. I remember being told that Capitol Hill Pride was “Pride for queer folks” and that Sunday’s Pride parade was “Pride for everyone else.”

I remember resenting the straight folks holding hands with their partners this weekend and flashing back to a year ago when my ex and I were accosted for doing the same. I remember feeling anxious walking around wearing a rainbow on my t-shirt, even though it was Pride weekend, even though Seattle is (supposedly) this great city of tolerance, even though I am statistically way less likely to be attacked than a trans woman or a queer person of color.

I didn’t remember Orlando—I would have to forget before I could remember. But the stories of what happened that night were always at the back of my mind. I just wish I’d had the space to talk with folks about it—like we used to in my college’s queer student groups.

I remember a heck of a lot of rainbows. Seriously, so many rainbows. Just…all of them. Rainbows everywhere.

All of these pieces seem so disconnected: the good times, the not so good times, the brief moments of activism amidst a sea of celebration, the isolated communities. We all have so much in common, and yet even during this weekend of celebration, we carved out our own spaces. We had separate events. We went to separate bars. We didn’t seem to be listening to each other (again, sorry for generalizing; I’m just reporting my observations).

That’s what I’s like to see in the future of Pride: a more interconnected, intersectional community that doesn’t stop fighting after marriage equality. I want to see a beloved community of queer and trans folks of all colors, faiths, income levels, and genders supporting each other in all of our struggles. I want to see our straight allies respecting our sacred spaces and acknowledging our experiences, not brushing us aside with a pithy statement like “love is love” or “love wins.” I want to see us work together until we all have equal rights, equal dignity, equal safety, and equal opportunity for a better tomorrow.

There is still work to be done. Keep fighting. Keep loving. Keep celebrating. Keep grieving. Keep hoping. Keep listening. Keep supporting. Keep being.

For the future of Pride.

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