The case for pride: putting yourself first

Photo by Shingi Rice on Unsplash

Decades from now, there will be research studies and books and opinion columns published regularly on the developmental stages of LGBTQ+ folks, their journey’s to coming out at all ages, and the different ways they experience pride as they grow up, or age, or explore their identity.

It’s tough to really capture the voices of a generation that is changing and so different from the next, but pride, and celebrating LGBTQ+ lives is one that I will never get tired of.

In June, many LGBTQ+ creators, activists and educators are pressured to show up each and every day. They work tirelessly on panels, in workshops, sharing content and educating audiences and those around them about important LGBTQ+ issues. This is a huge expenditure of energy, especially for LGBTQ+ folks during a month that is often rife with contention.

My unpopular opinion during pride month has become more and more about protecting queer folks’ energy by expecting less of this work hands on. During pride I encourage people to sleep in. to not overbook themselves. To spend time with the people they love, in spaces where they feel loved. I don’t think queer folks should work harder or be expected to take on more commitments during pride month.

I want LGBTQ+ folks to celebrate pride in the ways that make the most sense to them, that make them feel the most whole. If you want to celebrate pride at home watching gay movies sipping smoothies and doing puzzles, I hope you do. If you want to celebrate pride by going to drag shows and sleeping in late and taking every Monday off for the month, I hope you do. If you want to celebrate pride by leaving your city and staying with friends and trying new foods and spending lots of time feeling good in your gender and nothing else, I hope you do.

I hope if pride means holding babies and snuggling with children and playing with bubbles in the backyard, that you get to do all of that and more. If pride means taking your dog for hikes and getting take out for a week while you rest and paint and read erotic poetry on your balcony, I hope you get to do that too. If pride means wearing your leather harness and going on dates with your polycule and skipping rocks at the beach, I hope you take the time to do those things.

I find that so many newly out queer folks expect pride to look one specific way, or that they may be expected to do specific things during the month. If I could import anything from what I know of being queer and transgender and bisexual and celebrating June as our LGBTQ+ pride month, it’s that you should spend time with the people you love the most, who love you the biggest, doing whatever you think sounds like the most fun. That’s what I love about pride, and every year continues to look a bit different as I try to find new ways to celebrate myself, my friends, and our community.

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Liz Brinks

Liz Brinks

Hey, I’m Liz Brinks (they/them) I’m a queer gender-non-conforming writer, business coach & cat-parent (@itsjuustliz everywhere) based out of Wisconsin!