What to say instead of Happy Pride?

CW: gun violence, transphobia, homophobia

I opened my phone this morning to a text message that I haven’t responded to yet. A well-meaning person, someone who I feel loved by, sent me this:

“Happy pride month by the way!”

I skimmed the text, let out a short stifled sigh, locked the screen on my phone, and continued about my day. At first, I didn’t understand my emotional response. Logically, I knew this person meant well; I know this person loves and cares about me. So why did I feel disturbed, annoyed, frustrated, sad, angry, uncomfortable, activated, confused, and sick to my stomach?

Hours later, I came across a validating and heartbreaking headline:

Human Rights Campaign declares a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people

This stark group of words immediately made more sense to me than the ‘Happy pride’ text I got this morning. Maybe I’m feeling all these feelings because my community is in danger. Quite literally. Here's one single recent example: a few days ago, an armed shooter attacked one of my friends, a wonderful BIPOC trans person. He fired eight shots at my friend, who was at home with their dogs, just living. Miraculously, this friend is okay. They survived. I am so grateful they got away. A lot of people don’t survive these attacks. Especially BIPOC folks and trans femmes and disabled people. My heart is racing as I write this.

I do my best to live a full life as a trans and queer person. That is my radical rebellion, and that is what I can do most days. I focus on protecting my energy and caring for my mental health and meeting my basic needs. I do this so I can also show up for my community, support my friends, and simply be visible to show people – especially trans kids – that we can and do exist. Sometimes I wish I had more skills or energy or training to be an advocate on the front lines, or an attorney, a doctor, a superhero. Sometimes I feel like I do a lot, and sometimes I feel like I’ll never be able to do enough.

Happy pride? Pride and happiness at this time feels complicated.

I do, every day and every month, celebrate the fact that I am growing my relationship with myself and others. I celebrate that I am alive. I celebrate my community. I need community. I need to be seen and loved and celebrated and accepted and embraced by others. I am privileged to have an incredible support system that shows up for me. And that I get to be a part of that support system for others. It is an honor.

I don’t actually have advice from here. I don’t have a thesis statement or words of wisdom or hope. I don’t know what I want people to say to me instead.

Option to donate to TLDEF - Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.


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