Reflecting on Pride Month during pandemic
Like many things, Pride Month this year was different. And as with most change, there are some challenges and opportunities to consider. Though the popularity and commercialization of Pride can represent increased acceptance and commodification, there is greater awareness that it's more than a corporate-sponsored party and commemorates a riot led by trans women of color. With the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and continued homicide of trans women of color, our support and involvement with these LGBTQ+ issues are an inclusive way for us all to honor the spirit of Pride and the breadth of our communities.
We may also find value in the protest and the parade. They both can function to create spaces for visibility and effecting social change, the expression and affirmation of our authentic selves, gathering in remembrance and celebration, and feeling connected to others. However with most Pride events cancelled and even more limited access to physical LGBTQ+ safer spaces during pandemic, the continued need for social distancing can increase feelings of isolation. Of course this affects everyone's mental health but due to social stressors and discrimination, our communities already have higher prevalence of trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Pride is also an inside job. A benefit of having less distractions can be to gain perspective and have more time and space for personal development. We all seek love and acceptance and that ultimately starts with ourselves.