This year marked the best celebration of Gay Pride I’ve experienced in 40 years of being an out lesbian. The month of June kicks off Gay Pride celebrations and parades across the country. But in 2020, most of the country is just re-opening after a mandated “stay-at-home” order to decrease the spread of a global pandemic, Covid-19.

Gay Pride has been overshadowed by a range of events: anti-racism protests, the killing of black men and women by police officers, the killing of Black Transgender women, a rising death toll and millions of people unemployed amidst a global pandemic. Given my own intersectionality of experiencing sexism, homophobia and racism, I understand the significance of Pride taking a backseat to these grave issues. I am a Black woman before I am a lesbian. It wasn’t realistic to expect to secure media interviews as a subject matter expert on lesbian issues given the current climate. …


I. AM. TERRIFIED.

The novel Coronavirus has forever impacted our lives as we know them. For many of us, the impact will linger long after a cure is found. Yet, for those of us with an existing autoimmune condition, the need to take every precaution to guard against this disease is much higher than it is for the general population. Because we are more vulnerable, the difference between life and death is much narrower.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In the face of this reality, I refuse to deny the gloominess that sets in. I don’t want to die.There is so much more I want to do … that I must do. I must create a legacy, not only for myself but for my grandchildren. Anxiety takes over as I take extreme measures to avoid public places. My anxiety heightens as I worry about my mother, who also falls into a high-risk category. I cannot thank her enough for sacrificing her own safety for mine. I wait in the car with my rubber gloves and mask as she goes into the grocery store. As I said, I avoid public places at all costs. I try to spoil my mother as much as possible by ordering her favorite take-out or delivery meals so she won’t have to cook as much. …


My Dearest Son,

My womb ached for you. In a world that diminished my existence, you were a seed that was never expected to grow. But you grew… like the thick trees our ancestors were hung from.

I made a promise to God. If I could have just this one thing…If I could have you, I would give you all of me.I could never teach you how to become a man. But I could prepare you to possess all the things our ancestors died for…freedom, equality, and education.

PHOTO CREDIT: MONIKA M. PICKETT

I cradled you in my arms…molded you until you could hold your own, whether on the block in the “hood” or the halls of Harvard. I smile whenever I listen to you “code switch” with your black brothers to your white corporate colleagues. We giggle as you share an encounter that made you rise to the occasion. Your spirit was vexed when your qualifications were passively questioned based on the color of your skin. …

About

Monika M. Pickett

Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States Army. She is an advocate and activist for the LGBTQ community.

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