Y’all, I’m going to be as transparent as possible: this Pride Month as been tough. Honestly, with the overturn of Roe v. Wade last summer and other archaic legislation upcoming/currently pending in the Supreme Court, the last year is not what I would describe as stellar.
Even bringing myself to write this blog has felt like an immense emotional lift that I don’t entirely have the capacity for. Between Human Rights Campaign issuing a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ folx across the country and my own personal queer trials and tribulations, this month of celebration has mostly felt kind of melancholy. Therein lies the rationale behind me dragging my creative feet to pen this piece:
Pride is supposed to be uplifting, inspiring, jovial, and it’s hard to write something that reflects those emotions when you’re not necessarily feeling them yourself.
But, then I started to reflect on how I might not be alone, how many of you might ironically be feeling the exact same way and might need to virtually share space with someone who gets it. Sometimes being the rainbow coalition of identities that I am (Black, queer, non-binary, demisexual, and mental health warrior) can simply be exhausting.
For as long as I can remember, it has felt like I’m navigating two constant battles: one within myself and another with the outside world. Some days, even during this month of Pride and rejoicing during Juneteenth, it can be difficult enough just to wake up, put on a smile, and advocate for civil liberties and human rights.
Within the last few years, states have advanced a record number of bills that specifically target and attack LGBTQ+ rights, especially transgender youth. Thankfully, the national ACLU is tracking this harmful legislation and working with local affiliates to help support queer folx everywhere.
In summary, I think we can all collectively agree that sometimes life (especially in this current political, economic, and social climate) can be A LOT. So, to turn our own tides the question we must ask is – how do we take care of ourselves when that seems like the hardest task at hand? My forever answer to most of life’s questions of course is music.
From ballroom culture to club venues, to city parades, Pride has always been set to a loud and proud soundtrack. Music has an infinite way of getting us out of our heads and into our bodies; to feel our feelings through choruses and bridges rather than a resounding silence.
For queer folx, especially Black & Brown LGBTQ+ people, our mixtapes represent community and amplify understanding. Whether you’re screaming along to Whitney Houston with like-minded strangers in a crowded gay bar, blasting MUNA on a road trip with friends, or even quietly crying because Lizzo reminded you that you are in fact very special, you can take deep comfort in the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Along with my fellow queer colleague, Nicole McCann, we compiled an EPIC Pride playlist of our personal faves to not only carry you through the rest of June, but also keep you twirling thru the rest of this humid and (at times) heavy summer.
Our wish is that now, more than ever, that these songs bring you unfiltered joy on your darkest days and inspire you to dance, without inhibition, with somebody who truly loves you.