I went to my first formal Pride celebration was when I was 16 at the Portland Pride Parade in Oregon, where I grew up. My friends and I, many of who were just beginning to discover, explore, and understand their queer identities, had a fantastic time looking at all of the floats, wandering around the adjacent festival, and not only feeling safe in our identities, but excited about them. The way I celebrate and understand Pride has evolved in the years since then, but I like to think of that feeling I got to experience as a teenager is still central to the way I want to experience Pride Month. Despite Pride Month being a great time to celebrate the joy in queer identities and the impressive progress that has been made, by no means is the work here done.
As a person of color that identifies as nonbinary, and therefore under the trans umbrella, it’s a scary time in this country. Trans identities specifically have been under attack recently and it’s important for every single person to be willing to do the work in learning about what it means to be trans and how to combat transphobia in this country. Whether that’s reading up on different identities under the trans umbrella, trying to explain to family members how to correctly use they/them pronouns, or actively going out into your community to advocate for trans people, any work that you can put in is a step in the right direction. Pride is important to me as a queer future teacher who wants to be able to do the job I’m passionate about and be myself without fear of being fired or being accused of “indoctrination.” Pride is important to me as a person of color who wants to see better representation of queer people beyond just white, cis, able-bodied people. Pride is important to me because I am lucky enough to be surrounded by many queer people with varying identities whose personhood and bravery I love getting to celebrate.