For Pride Month, Swell is exploring how our sexualities are the sum of all our parts, places, and experiences.
There’s no denying that Pride this year will look considerably different than last year’s virtual celebrations. For one, in-person gatherings and parades are a go in most places. While this may be welcome news to many queer folks, some may still feel uneasy about gathering in large crowds for a festival or parade.
This could be because of continued concerns about COVID—perhaps you’ve got an immunocompromised person in your circle or unvaxxed children at home. Or it could have very little to do with worrying about getting sick. Lots of people have become comfortable with a slower, more intimate pace when it comes to their social lives, and that’s perfectly okay. It may, however, be challenging to figure out how to celebrate your queer visibility during this Pride month as other queer folks are enthusiastically gathering in the streets. In the words of comedian Hannah Gadsby, “Where are the quiet gays supposed to go?”
Here are some suggestions for a slower, more intimate Pride.
Consider mapping queer moments from your life in this community-generated mapping platform. You can remain anonymous or identify yourself. You can also browse queer moments in spaces as specific as one building or as broad as an entire region. This project aims to archive queer moments and history in a map as a way of increasing gay visibility as it relates to physical space.
If you’ve ever bemoaned the experience of finding the small LGBTQ+ section in a big box bookstore, you’ll find a queer or feminist bookstore a welcome reprieve of integrated and diverse reading options, not to mention the whole-body experience of browsing openly and peacefully among queer and allied folks in a business that’s designed with your interests in mind. Plus, you’ll be supporting a small business in the face of corporate-run book vending. Can’t find one near you? Gather a couple of your friends/chosen family and make a road trip of it.
Host a potluck with folks in your circle
A lot of us are still struggling with balancing work and family in the midst of job and childcare loss due to the pandemic, so a potluck offers a nice way of sharing the labor and responsibilities of hosting a gathering. Suggesting that folks bring dishes is wonderful, but it’s not necessary to require that they do so. Most of us can understand not having time or resources to make a dish, but could still use the company and nourishment.
Hook up with your local activist circles
Let’s not forget that the first Pride was a series of riots responding to police raids of queer nightclubs. Last year’s Pride month actually looked more similar to what I imagine queer and trans folks of color envisioned than most mainstream Pride parades. While there may be fewer large-scale protests and rallies happening in the U.S. this year, take heart that the movement is still moving. Queer and racial justice organizations are continually organizing for progress and would welcome your talents.
Take care of yourself
Self-care has become popular as a buzzword, and for good reason. Not only is self-care a form of treating yourself, but it’s also a way of making sure that your body and mind are taken care of in such a way that you’re able to continue to live your most authentic queer self. Self-care can look like treating yourself to some new sex toys, revisiting your daily routine and reprioritizing things that bring you peace and stability, or spending quality time (either virtually or face-to-face) with your community. It’s been a trying year, so checking in with yourself this month may be the best way for you to celebrate your queer identity.