2019 Pride Month—World Pride—has seen an abundance of personal essays, op-eds, reporting, and editorials from queer and trans writers doing their absolute best work. Today, we’re celebrating only a tiny fragment of that work and highlighting our favorite writing of Pride Month.
This list, of course, doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the work queer and trans writers have done this month not only here in the U.S. but beyond. And that work undoubtedly has taken an emotional toll. Constantly being asked to mine ones identity, history, and traumas may only serve to compound those traumas. That’s why the stories in this list also include joy, love, and hope, often right alongside pain and sadness.
Now, here’s hoping that publications remember that queer and trans writers are, in fact, ready to be hired all eleven other months of the year as well!
Content note: Please be aware that some of the below includes content that may be difficult for some, including death, drug use, suicidal ideation, and violence.
By Mitchell Kuga, for Esquire
“Queer people move in this space between the system. We are the completion of a circle that is masculine and feminine. That’s the way I wish sex ed was — that they actually talk about that. It changes the whole reality for our youth, even for the straight people in the room.”
By Emily VanDerWerff, for Vox
“The day after I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which will slowly but surely feminize my lumpy 30-something body, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration was thinking about defining gender as ‘a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.’ The move would effectively legislate transgender Americans ‘out of existence’ in the eyes of the government, as part of a larger effort ‘to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.’ It was as clear a sign as possible to abandon ship. I kept asking myself, ‘Why, when you’ve spent so long running away from examining your gender too closely, are you coming out now?’”
By Charlene Carruthers, for Zora
“For me, choosing to become a mom through pregnancy — even though there are many ways to become a mother without giving birth — in a country where it has always been legal to control, commodify, and violate Black women’s bodies is an act of resistance and resilience. This doesn’t make me a brave person; it makes me a person who is vigilant and clear about what must be done in order for all of us to be able to live in our full dignity as human beings.”
By Yves, for BET
“Every LGBTQ child should have gotten to be a Zion Wade. We must all rise up to love, protect, educate, and guide our youth. Together. The last thing I want is for them to grow up and wonder what they might have been if we had done better by them.”
By Alex Cheves, for The Body
“Among the many HIV-related tattoos, one has become widely recognizable: the international biohazard symbol, which appears on medical packaging for hazardous materials like viral samples and used hypodermic needles. I discovered the symbol on a damp, balmy day in Savannah, Georgia, when I tested positive at 21 years old. I was a senior in college and was walking to my car after a morning yoga session when I got a call from the student clinic. The woman on the other end of the line seemed disorganized and squeaked out, ‘We need you to come in.’”
By Serena Sonoma, for Vox
“So yes, we should continue to learn the names and stories of Muhlaysia Booker, Chynal Lindsey, and so many more who have been victims of transmisogynoir today and in the past and never forget them. But activism and change goes beyond awareness of the dead.”
By Hari Ziyad, for Black Youth Project
“Love should be an endless storm, me a ship sank so deep underneath its torrents that I will never be discovered. But I always feel so exposed under the waves of other people’s love, like my broken sails are constantly bobbing up out of the surface while I attempt to catch my breath, because no one has taught me how to hold it.”
By Shannon Keating, for Buzzfeed
“I generally expected to meet some nice older ladies with interesting life stories, to explore the tensions of intergenerational lesbian culture and the fraught future of lesbian spaces, to laze about on a beach in the Virgin Islands and get to say I was swimming and sunbathing ‘for work.’ What I didn’t expect was everything else that would happen to me — and is still happening to me — thanks to this one little week in my otherwise pleasantly uneventful life.”
By Imara Jones, for The Guardian
“As my conversation with Mama Rose unfolded, so did my joy. I was blown away by her as she talked about my mother’s sweetness, intelligence, thoughtfulness and sensitivity as a child. We rarely can imagine our parents as children; I was suddenly able to do so and it rounded out her humanity and vulnerability in my mind. Mama Rose is giving me the gift of memories of my mom which only she possessed.”
By Jenna Wortham, for The New York Times
“When we gather, we manifest, we materialize, we rewrite history, creating an inheritance and a legacy for ourselves in real-time.”