Note: Yesterday’s Camp NaNoWriMo writing was a recap for one of my DnD games, so it’s nothing published here, but I’m still on track for the month!
This morning was the Second Annual Pittsburgh Frontrunners Back of the Pack Fourth of July Run and Brunch (For a Cure). Note, it’s not really ‘For a Cure,’ I just add that. Anyway, our little pace group is wonderful. The tradition started last year when the Fourth fell on one of our normal running days we go out with the Frontrunners, and instead of skipping the day, we got together, and a tradition was born.
There’s something to be said for being with groups of the same people. Yes, safe spaces are vital and needed, but that’s just one step. Actually being with other people that are also considered ‘other’ is hugely gratifying. It helps us remember that we’re not alone, that we’re not wrong in any way.
As brunch continued, the conversation turned to queer theory, and in this case, the actual use of the word, ‘queer.’ We were able to discuss, in a candid way that I think would have been prohibitive if there weren’t other queer people there, the evolution of the word, it’s use in the lexicon and how different generations view and use the word. That spawned side conversations that spanned coming out stories, workplace discrimination, travel, safety precautions, family dynamics, therapists and Netflix specials.
I’ve been a local volunteer (municipal liaison) for National Novel Writing Month for a few years now. It’s so amazing and I love helping participants and kids (through the Young Writers Program) unlock their creative potential and write for 30 days with literary abandon. NaNoWriMo also runs two camp sessions: participants get to choose what they work on and how they measure success. This year, I”m jumping in with a great group with the goal to write each day.
A lot of that writing will be here, some of it will not, but getting back into that discipline is something I’d like to practice a bit, and what better way than with an amazing team of writers (all of whom identify as Slytherin but they’ve adopted this Hufflepuff to create the ‘Drunkest Slytherpuff” cabin once again)!
Today’s writing (and many of them, I do have a big backlog) is a ‘normal’ blog post for me, so here we go!
Nerdist asks if George Lucas’ idea for the sequels is what you imagined. No. No it is not. But, in retrospect, it gives more credence to some of the things I hated about the prequels (and again, Star Wars is his creation, he can tell whatever story he likes, we get to choose if we like it or not. Well…Disney does now).
Today marks the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which launched the LGBT-rights movement.
If you’re not familiar with the riots, here’s what happened:
We owe so much to those brave trans-women of color, homeless youth and drag queens who launched the riots and the queer revolution.
People ask why we celebrate pride. NoFo writes it much more eloquently than I ever could, here is an excerpt:
We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of selective morality, when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes, when entire states codify our families into second-class citizenship, when our employers fire us, when our landlords evict us, when our police harass us, when our neighbors and colleagues and fellow citizens openly insult and condemn and mock and berate and even beat and kill us—we continue to survive. … We’re proud because—thanks to the incredible bravery shown by gay people who lived their lives openly in the decades before us—we can live our lives more and more openly at home, at work, with our families, on our blogs … and even on national television. … We’re proud because after all we’ve been through, the world is starting to notice and respect us and emulate the often fabulous culture we’ve assembled from the common struggles and glorious diversity of our disparate lives.
We’re proud because this weekend we’ll celebrate with drag queens, leather queens, muscle queens, attitude queens and you’d-never-know-they-were-queens queens, and together we can see through the “pride” in our parade and enjoy the underlying Pride in our parade.
Quite simply, we’re proud that we have so much to be proud of.
We can take some time, and even in the face of hatred, bigotry and discrimination, we can carve a place in this world, claim it our own and celebrate.
Because even if Pride doesn’t change many minds in the outside world, it’s our PARTY, darlings. It’s our Christmas, our New Year’s, our Carnival. It’s the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street and blow each other air kisses. And wish each other “Happy Pride!” Saying “Happy Pride!” is really just a shorter, easier way of saying “Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Well done, being YOURSELF!”
We can celebrate the community that we have, the radical acceptance that we embody and the fact that we’ve survived. We have a chance to come together, remind ourselves we belong to a larger community, have some fun and take back our city; just for a little bit. We know that hatred will continue, but still we march forward. We have pride because it helps those coming after us. In the words of Harvey Milk, it gives the next generation hope:
And this is a chance to celebrate the fact that I’ve survived. A chance to celebrate the fact that I’m a proud gay man. And even that act, powerful unto itself, has hopefully made a difference.
The most important and powerful action a person can make is to come out to those around them. Then the LGBT community isn’t a scary abstract anymore, it has a face. If you know someone who is openly LGBT, you see their humanity. You can understand that we’re not asking for anything special, just the same rights everyone else is guaranteed by the constitution. A chance to be happy. A chance to live the life we want, surrounded by those we love.
“Many of us want to, and will: when a gay, lesbian or transgendered kid isn’t at special risk of being brutalized or committing suicide. … “When a gay person’s central-casting earnestness and eloquence aren’t noted with excitement and relief, because his or her sexual orientation needn’t be accompanied by a litany of virtues and accomplishments in order for bigotry to be toppled and a negative reaction to be overcome.”
We will stop talking about coming out when it’s not news anymore, when the last barriers have finally been broken down. We’ll stop screaming for our rights when we’re finally treated as equals by our government. We’ll only stop telling our stories when they don’t matter.
The anniversary of Stonewall comes just two days after marriage equality came to all 50 states (and the anniversary of decisions in Lawrence v. Texas and Windsor v. United States), a major piece of the equality dream the drag queens, homeless youth and the rest of Stonewall protesters had less than 50 years ago. In 11 years, we’ve gone from no marriage rights to full equality across the country. We still have a lot to fight for, ENDA being at the top of that list, but for now, we can celebrate the ‘thunderbolt’ of equality that we have achieved:
So we keep fighting for progress, wherever we can. We celebrate our advances and keep chipping away at our obstacles: and this month we can celebrate both, as well as the individuals that make up our amazing community.
In light of the Orlando massacre, it’s more important than ever to celebrate Pride. To not be intimidated by the hate, but to instead keep rising, demand equality and fight for our very right to exist. What hurts the most about Orlando may be the reminder that even our own spaces, which we thought were safe, aren’t. Or maybe they never really were, not while hatred and prejudice still exist. But as we face, united, the epidemics of gun violence and homophobia, we can at least take solace in the fact that we, as a community, know how to win epidemics.
We’re proud of how far we’ve come. We’re proud to keep fighting. We’re proud.
Thank you, to Garfunkle and Oates for hitting it out of the park with this song:
This makes me laugh, but it’s what we deal with all the time. A person makes some bigoted remark about how he thinks gay people are going to hell and then gets all upset when the pushback happens. The hypocrisy is staggering.