“Pride Month comes at a difficult time this year.
Much of the world is still in quarantine, mourning the unfathomable loss of nearly half a million people from COVID-19, more than 100,000 of them here in the United States.
Meanwhile, as protests sweep the nation in response to the hideous recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and other unarmed Black Americans at the hands of police officers, celebrating anything at the moment seems impossible. But like so many voices in the LGBTQ+ community remind us, Pride takes many forms, and one of those forms can be outrage. Another can be action.
Pride began more than 50 years ago as a riot and a protest against injustice. There won’t be any festivals or parades this year, but members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies can channel that same spirit and frustration into support for the Black community, which is disproportionately affected by police brutality and systemic racial violence by a criminal justice system that has failed to protect them over and over again.
Black lives matter. Black queer lives matter. Black trans lives matter. Black folks are LGBTQ+ folks, and there’s no Pride without intersectionality and activists of color. Since the Stonewall riots of 1969, this community has relied on Black LGBTQ+ activists like Marsha P. Johnson who refused to stay silent or stand down. What the most recent wave of protests has reminded us is that it’s not enough to not be racist; we have to be anti-racist in order to effect real and permanent change.
With that said, we present PRIDE FIRSTS—a collection of stories from major voices in the LGBTQ+ community about a memorable “first” they’ve experienced in their lifetime. Many described the first Pride attended, while others recalled the emotional moment of the first time they came out. Each story is different and illustrates how diverse and extraordinary the LGBTQ+ community really is. As we’ve already stated, Pride is nothing without intersectionality. So as we celebrate Pride in a year that looks quite different from years past, let’s be conscious of how many communities are still marginalized and how much work still needs to be done to achieve true equaliy in the world.”