When One Size (or Story) Doesn’t Fit All

Pride for All of us

Each month, I write for a spiritual community, Imaginarium, here in Nashville, and I try to always share my writing with y’all. Below is this month’s Imaginarium MIND Content. I hope you enjoy!

Find out more about Imaginarium here.

When One Size (or Story) Doesn’t Fit All

Like most months when I sit down to write, I consider all that is happening in the world. The calendar (and all of social media) tells me that it’s Pride Month, and rainbows are adorned from profile pictures to store windows. Everyone seems to be celebrating Pride, which on the one hand seems great, but I wonder if Starbucks, Whole Foods, Target, and Kroger have a historical memory of Pride? Or, is there display of the HRC equal sign sticker and rainbow stuff a way to lure us into their stores? I always think about what has come before when I think about what’s happening now. What about you?

The first Pride is often cited as the Stonewall Riots. I remember when I first learned that the first Pride was a protest! What we know of Pride today (festivals, parties, brunches, and parades) is not how Pride started. And, furthermore, what we see today as Pride (selling rainbow t-shirts, rainbow converse, and other rainbow gadgets and trinkets) is often rainbow capitalism -- the intentional effort to profit off of marginalized groups and accumulate wealth off the backs of LGBTQIA persons. Think here about who sponsors Pride events and Pride parties!  

Don’t get me wrong! I love a good party, and I even love a Pride brunch even more (with a side of bacon and a mimosa!). I love to gather with friends during Pride, listen to coming out stories and the follies we all lived through, but as I’ve gotten older, the story of Pride that I was introduced to in Chicago (they were wild times!) is not the Pride I try to live today in 2021. 

Like many of us, last year’s Pride was celebrated in quarantine and in our chosen pods, if we were lucky enough to have a pod. It wasn’t a big party for most of us. It might have actually been isolating and caused us to question our inherited histories of Pride. And, a year later, we might be able to gather in real life with one another and celebrate Pride, but what exactly are we going to celebrate and how?

Pride is about resistance. Plain and simple. Pride is about resisting the bullshit of the here and now that is the logic of the norm. The logic of the norm is pernicious and evil; it seeks to normalize everything in its path, colonizing and saming everything. The first Pride was a protest against police violence and police brutality. The first Pride Transwomen of color led the way. The first Pride was an intentional effort to destabilize the tyranny of the now, which was genius at the time, and remains to today. And, I feel curious about how far we’ve socialized our way away from a collective intentional effort to destabilize the current streams of life, productivity, sustainability, work, relationships, love, etc. 

The current story of Pride that we have, the one that we have all internalized and inherited, is not a story that fits all. Pride is not about normalizing anything; Pride is about resisting everything that is trying to flatten out differences and normalize you and me.

When I think about Pride today, I look back to see how I can be an agent of resistance that hopefully creates conditions for me to be an agent of change. I look back to the past and then I look to the future, which is just the present that has not yet materialized. I hold the past, the present, and the future all together and ask myself:   how can I protest the tyranny of the now? How do we protest and resist the chronic sense of urgency that is seen in our culture? How do we protest and resist that very ingrained impulse to put profits over people? How do we protest and resist the bullshit that is harming the least of these?

It’s still early in June -- still early in our collective Pride month. What are you protesting? What are you resisting? I happen to think that when we protest and resist the norms and values that stabilize our current cultural body, we destabilize it all in the name of a queer future. 

We are not yet queer, but when we protest and resist the bullshit, we can begin the feel the warm illumination of the utopia that is our shared, queer future. That’s the Pride event I want to be at, and I want you there, too! 

Can we lean into this vision of destabilized difference, so that we can carry Pride into the future? As my friends and I say: poco a poco (little by little). When we resist and protest the bullshit together, we shape and form a community that cannot be destroyed. 

When you see your favorite Pride t-shirt being sold at a big box company, remind yourself that it’s not about profiting off of the LGBTQIA community, but it’s about helping rebuild this community in light of profit-making. It’s gotta be people over profits for us to survive, which is why we all need to lean in and protest and resist the bullshit. 

We are not yet queer, but we are on the way…