1 year later: What to say instead of Happy Pride

CW: mentions of SI and ED 

Dear humans, 

It’s June 2024. I want to follow up on an unfinished blog post/open letter to allies that I wrote this time last year. First, I want to acknowledge my joy and my grief and my LIFE. This month I am personally celebrating several things: 

  • 3 years on Hormone Replacement Therapy/”HRT”/Testosterone/”T”/my favorite drug 
  • 3 years escape from my most recent abusive relationship 
  • 3.75 years sober 
  • 3.75 years since my queerness saved me from SI after writing a suicide letter and watching Season 1 of the L Word Generation Q on the same night 
  • 5.5 years out of a divorce 
  • 6 months since I filed bankruptcy 
  • 2 months living alone in my very own (cute! safe!) solo apartment for the first time ever 
  • 6 months into my recovery journey from a lifelong eating disorder that I barely even knew about 
  • 2.5 years in continuous stable housing, thanks in large part to queer sober living programs 
  • 1 school year in the books as a classroom teacher, an incredible honor and privilege 
  • 1.5 years since uncovering, nurturing, and honoring my neurodivergence 
  • 3 years of consistent mental healthcare from the SAME providers at the same location, after years of navigating the stress of ever-changing providers, no access to health insurance, advocating for free services, pinching pennies for sliding scales, moving across state lines, and being on and off medications 
  • I could go on… 

I list these things to provide context and perspective, as a reminder that I am one person speaking from one experience (I do not intend to represent or speak for the entire queer community in this piece). I also list these things for myself. My life is full of beauty and awe and privilege today. Sometimes I forget how hard it has been to get here. I am reminded to acknowledge all of this, to myself and in my creative process, during Pride Month. 

Last year, I wrote a blog post as an open letter, titled “What to Say Instead of Happy Pride.” At that time, I didn’t have an answer to share, and I didn’t have the energy to dig for one yet. Today, I have some ideas, informed by activists and mentors and voices of the oppressed. 

What to do and what to say instead of Happy Pride (feel free to add more ideas in the comments): 

SAY: “I believe you.” 
DO: Listen to our needs. Affirm correct pronouns. Celebrate chosen names. Correct others. 

SAY: “I support you.” 
DO: Support and follow queer artists. Listen to our music. Buy our art. Read our writings. Attend our performances. Share our heart’s work. Lift our voices. 

SAY: “I love you.” 
DO: Be with us. Say hi. Check in. Spend time. Take care. Create memories. Share space. Give space. Practice healthy boundaries. 

SAY: “I respect you.” 
DO: Get involved in trans activism and anti-racism work. Share resources. Pay reparations, if applicable. Exchange mutual aid. You can start local. Start with your workplace, your school, your family, your community, your neighborhood, your city, or your state. Start with an org. Start with a friend’s suggestion. Start somewhere. We need to stop killing trans kids. We need to protect Black Trans Women. None of us are free until all of us are free. 

DO: Start somewhere to end genocide. These are some questions I am reflecting on to educate myself and know myself, as a white person far away from the horrendous realities of genocide: Who am I listening to? Who am I learning from? What are my natural strengths and gifts, and where are my connections? How can I offer one action at a time? How can I rest, so I can get back up? How can I sustain the life I have, so I can sustain the lives of others? How can I liberate myself to liberate the collective? How can I start locally? (This list is imperfect and incomplete and in process.)

In summary, I am not going to beg you to believe us, to support us, to love us, to respect us (us meaning queer humans, and meaning all humans). I am going to ask you to consider why you don’t. I want to encourage you to seek support in believing, supporting, loving, and respecting yourself. And I want to thank the people in my life who believe, support, love, and respect me. 

Please take care of you, so we can take care of all of us

In love and solidarity, 
Parker (he/they) 

PS - If you are queer, or you wonder if you are queer, here are some gentle reminders: Being an alive queer person is radical. Rest is radical. You are not alone. The light in your eyes and the breath in your chest is enough. I believe you. I support you. I love you. I respect you. 

PPS - These are a few things that help me care for myself at this moment in time: Writing. Creating. Singing. Going outside. Showing up for my mental health. Connecting with chosen family. Saying no. Saying yes when my body signals a clear yes. Listening to music. Making music. Resting to avoid burnout. Speaking freely. Dancing. Moving. Stretching. Cartwheels. Performing drag. Showing up for my friends when I can. Self-dates. Ice cream. Mutual aid. 



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