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What You Should Be Doing Instead of Being Upset Over Pride Being Canceled

How to keep Pride alive while social distancing

My friend and I at the 2019 Philly Pride parade

I went to my very first pride parade a little over a year ago. I actually wasn’t sure of the exact date I went to pride, so I went on my phone to check. I pulled up a photo from pride and all of the emotions came swirling back. It was my first time going to pride, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But let me tell you this, it was better than anything I could have dared to imagine.

I don’t want the focus of this article to be about how amazing pride is because quite frankly, I couldn’t be more devastated over not being able to go. Being together with so many people just like you, filled with so much love and acceptance is a beautiful thing. Okay, so maybe some past pride nostalgia is resurfacing, but I can’t help it. I think because last year was my first time going to pride, it made me so eager for the next time I would be able to attend. And now because of the state of the world, I’m not too sure when that will be.

Pride is not simply an event, it is an experience. Pride brings people together, whether strangers or friends. We all have a right to be upset over our one day to bask in the glory of being ourselves being canceled. We have a right to be upset; we have a right to be angry. But we shouldn’t let these negative emotions consume too much of our time. Here are some ways you can still be involved with pride for the time being.

Be an Ally to the Black Community

If you are a part of the LGBT+ community but don’t stand with other minorities, then what are you doing? This is not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue. Black Americans continue to be killed by those that are supposed to protect us.

Do not stay silent. These things are tough to talk about, I get that. It’s frightening to know horrible things are happening to black people, but it is 10x scarier to be in their shoes. Specifically white queer people, don’t only support those that are black & LGBT+, stand with black people, period.

Tweet about it, listen to the black community, give their voices a platform, educate yourself, sign petitions. I encourage everyone reading this to check out blmsites.carrd.co for resources and more ways to be involved with the black lives matter movement.

Books every BLM ally should read:

  • Between the World and Me — Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • How We Fight for Our Lives — Saeed Jones
  • Well-Read Black Girl — Glory Edim
  • How to Be an Antiracist — Ibram X Kendi
  • We Should All Be Feminists — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • If Beale Street Could Talk — James Baldwin

Black Shows & Movies to watch:

  • Nappily Ever After
  • Dear White People
  • BlackAF
  • On My Block
  • When They See Us

Supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement is not something you should only do when a black person is killed by the police, you should be supporting the black community year-round. Being an ally to the black community is not something you should just turn on when it is convenient for you.

Create a Pride Playlist

Music is something I fall back on. Whether I’m excited, sad, angry, music is something that helps me delve deeper into those emotions I’m feeling. I think music could help anyone feeling sad over not being able to go to pride this year.

My 2020 Quarantine Pride Playlist

Put together a playlist of songs you wish you were singing right now at pride. Each song doesn’t even necessarily have to be an “LGBT” song, it can just be something that is uplifting or makes you excited to be alive. Some songs I included in my pride playlist include:

  • Watermelon Sugar — Harry Styles (you can’t listen to this song and not get up and start dancing)
  • Sofia — Clairo
  • Cheap Queen — King Princess
  • Pictures of Girls — Wallows
  • Wish You Were Sober — Conan Gray

Now, don’t get me wrong, not all of these songs are by queer artists, but they just remind me of pride and who I was last year when I went. Dig deep and discover new songs, rediscover old songs; make your ultimate pride playlist (from home)!

Watch Queer Shows

There’s no better time than now to rewatch your favorite LGBT shows and discover new ones! Watching these shows is so important because it helps support them so that they continue to run. Here are some of my favorite TV shows that include LGBT+ representation:

  • One Day at a Time — this show is about a single Army veteran mother who is trying to raise her Cuban-American family all on her own. She has two children she is raising, and in the first season her daughter comes out to her as gay. Although this show can be a little too liberal at times (even for me), it still deals with very important issues, such as mental health, racism, homophobia, and sexism, all while entertaining the audience.
Netflix / Michael Yarish
  • Never Have I Ever — this show is about an Indian-American teenager who is struggling with the loss of her father. The main character, Devi, struggles with feeling too Indian for her white school peers, while not feeling Indian enough for her mother’s side of the family. Devi’s support system consists of her two friends Eleanor and Fabiola, the latter coming out as gay and being received with acceptance from her friends.
Netflix / Lara Solanki
  • Andi Mack — this show is about an Asian-American teenager, Andi, who in the first episode is hit with some heavy news: her mom is actually her grandmother, and her sister is actually her mother. Andi relies on her two best friends, Buffy and Cyrus, for support during their hard teenage years. Cyrus ends up coming out to Buffy and Andi, and is actually the first character on Disney Channel to utter the words “I’m gay”.
Disney Channel / Fred Hayes
  • Schitt’s Creek — this show is about a wealthy family’s transition from living a luxurious lifestyle to moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere, Schitt’s Creek. The show consists of a husband and wife with two children well into adulthood. The whole family copes with spending money on a budget for the first time in their lives. The couple’s son, David, is pansexual.
Pop / Gerald Packer

(I’m so sorry that none of these shows included trans representation. I wanted to include shows I’ve watched and personally enjoyed, and I don’t think I’ve had yet to hear about, let alone watch, a tv show with a transgender character — besides The Fosters, but that show isn’t one of my favorites and I wanted to include shows I really love.)

Read About Pride and Its Roots

Since none of us can be at pride physically, we might as well take this time to brush up on our knowledge of queer icons and just the origin of pride. If you’re not sure where to start, I would recommend starting with James Baldwin.

Not only is Baldwin a beautiful story-teller, but he’s a black gay man who wrote stories dealing with important issues such as sexuality, race, and religion. The three books of his I have read are Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, and If Beale Street Could Talk. Although Giovanni’s Room is Baldwin’s only novel to explicitly deal with homosexuality, I still found that it wasn’t my favorite of his. Go Tell It on the Mountain deals with religion, more specifically the struggles of being the step-son of a pastor. If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful and raw love story that also shows what it was like to be a black American in the 1970s. I would suggest reading all three of those books, and any others of his if you have the chance.

Another gay writer I adore is Oscar Wilde. Of course, I’m going to recommend you read The Picture of Dorian Gray, but I also suggest you check out some of his short stories. His short stories don’t focus too much on sexuality as his novel does, but he just has a wonderful way with words. Some of my favorite short stories of his (available online at wilde-online.info) are “The Model Millionaire”, “The Selfish Giant”, and “The Nightingale and the Rose.”

Yoav Hornung / Unsplash

If you aren’t familiar with the origin of pride or how it started, I definitely recommend you read up on it. We, as queer people, owe so much of our freedom to Marsha P. Johnson. If you have never heard that name before, then I highly recommend you do some research. We can’t continue to ignore and discredit the black LGBT+ people who trailblaze our movement. We need to make sure we support the Black Lives Matter movement as much as we support the queer movement.

Although we cannot be physically surrounded by those who are just like us and accept us, we must carry that love in our hearts. Sure, who knows when the next Pride parade will be, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop loving ourselves any less.

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