Pride is in the air.
With Pride in the air, I thought it only appropriate that I pay homage to this humbling and powerful movement of incredible humans to whom I owe so much. After reading about the organisation of lesbians who marched against the rights of trans women – more commonly known as TERFS (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) for those of you who don’t know) – I felt genuinely heartbroken.
Let’s get one thing straight - excuse the pun - one of the powerhouses that initiated the gay rights movement and was instrumental in the uprising of Stonewall was Marsha P. Johnston, a trans woman of colour. Her outspokenness, bravery and hard fucking work was the reason why we're at this point, why we can take to the streets and march with pride. By excluding trans women from the LGBTQ+ community, we are basically disrespecting the courage that it took to get us to where we are.
We live in a world where it’s a lot more acceptable to be gay now – at least in certain parts. When I first came out, I struggled. Not as much as some others, of course, but at the time, it was definitely more taboo and harder for people to understand. Conversations with people I’d just met were difficult - always with an underlying fear of not being accepted for who I was, of not getting a job on the premise of my sexuality, of being ridiculed.
Bear in mind that we all, no matter who we are or where we come from, want acceptance. Whether you’re a straight white male or a trans woman of colour, you want to be accepted for who you are in the world. The patriarchy has dictated that the straight white male will be accepted anywhere and everywhere at all times and it’s this repression that has caused our underground communities to blossom. Lack of acceptance leads to seeking out a place of refuge, like attracts like, and soon enough you have a group of people who are sick of being excluded from society. And so the gay rights movement and the pride parades were born.
Who are we exactly to tell anybody who they are? We have established that gender is dying, so who are we to decide who is male, female, third gender, or otherwise? It is our job on this planet to accept people for who they are. It is our job to support them. To encourage them. To nurture them. To love them. It is not our job to tell people what to do or who to be. We live and let live because we are all in this boat together and it’s our responsibility to sail it harmoniously.
LGBTQ – it does what it says on the tin. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans and queers. As a community, we have all felt excluded, rejected, scared, alone, courageous, brave and proud. We have all experienced similar ups and downs – like the moment you told your loved ones who you were; the moment you held your significant other’s hand in public for the first time; the moment you fell in love for the first time; and the moment you began to express yourself unapologetically and without shame. We have all built this community together from the ground up, each generation paving the way for the next, making life that little bit easier, that little bit less scary, that little bit prouder. Acceptance, connection, respect and love – that’s what it really means to be human. We all just want to feel proud of who we are.
Pride is in the air. Don't be a dick.