Freedom, Belonging, & Radical Hope for Pride

Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Pride is freedom
If we hold our Constitution to what it says, every person in the United States should have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We know that has not been true for everyone in this country, and especially for people with LGBTQIA2S+ identities. LGBTQIA2S+ communities have had to fight for the freedom to live, love, and be themselves in all forms of identity and expression.
When I think of the importance of Pride, I think of its origins, and the way the LGBTQIA2S+ community fought back at the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, when police raided a gay bar in New York. Transgender individuals, and BIPOC LGBTQIA2S+ people were on the front lines of the protests that lasted six days, and which sparked a greater movement that continues today. The people had had enough. It was time to be able to live and love with freedom in all the myriad identifies that make up the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
Pride is belonging
We believe in and fight for belonging at the ACLU. Against the backdrop of too many forms of exclusion, we have fought for gender affirming care for trans youth and adults. We have fought for the right to marry the person you love. We have fought for LGBTQIA2S+ people to be honest about their identities in workplaces, including the military. We know that the range of issues impacting LGBTQIA2S+ communities involves everything from homophobia and transphobia, to racism, ableism, inability to access health care, workplace discrimination, poverty, and so many more issues. Every person, every LGBTQIA2S+ person should know they belong. They should feel it because the laws protect them the same as anyone else and the systems and institutions serve them well, compassionately, and culturally appropriately. We know we are not there yet. But we are in this fight until victory.
Pride is radical hope
There is no denying that the times right now are hard. There is still so much hate directed at LGBTQIA2S+ communities all around this country. From “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, to legislation seeking to erase and harm trans individuals – especially trans kids, to violence against members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, there is much to mourn.
But when we look back at the actions of those beautiful souls at Stonewall, who said “enough,” who said I will fight back with my body and my very being for the right to be who I am – well, friends, that is radical hope at its most powerful. And that is the spirit we must remain in. As members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, as allies and accomplices, we bring our bodies and our beings with radical hope into the notion that all should be free, that all belong. We will not stop until every LGBTQIA2S+ individual can exist in their full glorious humxnity, unbound, unafraid, and proud.
Happy Pride!
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