Pride is Political!

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It is that time again. PRIDE Month! Every June, many of us celebrate PRIDE, honoring LGBTQ+ people, our lives, accomplishments, and resilience. As you read this, the streets in your hometown may be lined with banners announcing the upcoming PRIDE parade; storefront windows are abundantly decorated with affirming messages like “love trumps hate” or “love is love.” From logos to curated book displays at our local library, we can find PRIDE deeply affirming and celebratory.

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Pride is beautiful! It is life-affirming to be celebrated and declare your love for yourself and your beloved. Whether it is joining an affirming community in a parade or a gentle reminder of your worth and dignity on a rainbow t-shirt, PRIDE month can bring revolutionary joy and healing to our community. Our existence and our resistance is beautiful and worthy of celebration.

We know this PRIDE month may feel different. Maybe your school has removed books that include stories with LGBTQ+ characters. Maybe the PRIDE flag that used to fly outside your church’s door or in front of City Hall has been vandalized or stolen. Perhaps you and your community are grieving the loss of a loved one, the loss of a community member who has moved for their safety, or the loss of hope that things will get better. Maybe your PRIDE celebration includes a memorial or dedication.

PRIDE is complicated. The love, grief, and unbridled joy moves through us

It is a time when many of us hold our partners, our chosen family, and our beloved close because we know that “love is love” is not just a slogan. It means offering housing to someone whose home is no longer safe. It means cards and celebration on Nonbinary Parents Day. It means learning and celebrating new names, pronouns, and bodies. Love is embracing the joy in becoming who you know you are and the humility and care of being one who may be invited to witness this transformation.

Today, it is important that we remind ourselves that the first PRIDE was a riot and lift up the legacies of Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera. In June, we witness new cycles of “No Police in PRIDE” campaigns. Some LGBTQ+ organizations will inform us of all the corporations that churn out PRIDE-themed advertisements while donating millions to legislators who vote to ban trans children from sports and trans people from bathrooms, vote for discriminatory policies that leave many in our community without homes or jobs, or healthcare, spread pinkwashing messages that worsen the genocide in Palestine, abandon disabled people to an ongoing pandemic, and use the carceral system to police our identity.

PRIDE is political. PRIDE has never represented one cohesive and aligned community. Just as Silvia Rivera gave voice to a gay liberation movement that ignored the needs and contributions of trans and non-binary people, PRIDE continues to be an important site of political struggle that calls us into accountability and the work for collective liberation.

PRIDE, like our LGBTQ+ community, is so many things. For Side With Love, PRIDE is an opportunity to faithfully continue the work of LGBTQ+ liberation and gender justice. It is an opportunity to reflect on where movements have fallen short of our highest ideals and recommit to centering BIPOC, trans, disabled, and other marginalized LGBTQ+ people who are still marginalized due to multiple and intersecting oppressions. It is a time when we honor our legacy of protest and disruption by affirming protest and disruption when communities are struggling for their liberation. PRIDE is an invitation to root in a radical history so that we may reach a liberatory future.

This month, we will share short reflections from UUs on what PRIDE means to them this year. Find these posts on our Instagram at @SideofLove.

Happy PRIDE!

In faith and solidarity,

Nicole Pressley