Happy Pride Month!

Pride Flag variation including white, pink, blue, brown, and black stripes to recognize people with HIV, trans people, and queer people of color

June is Pride Month — and this particular Pride Month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. A very momentous month indeed!

Here is a space to talk about all things Pride, including your celebrations about progress that has been made and your fears about how tenuous that progress often feels and your concerns for queer people around the world who still lack basic protections and anything else you want to express or share, from the personal to the global.

I want to take this moment to reaffirm my commitment to queer rights and justice, which is integral to my feminism, to my progressive politics, and to my life, every day.

* * *

My oldest friend, about whom I've written many times in this space, is a gay Latino. Ant and I met on the first day of kindergarten and we are still friends 40 years later. My favorite cousin, to whom I am closest in age and with whom I share a stronger family resemblance than even with my own sister, is a lesbian. Most of my friends from high school, with whom I spent long hours making dorky home movies in my parents' basement or stretched out on my bed, listening to Smiths albums, have almost all come out in the intervening years. Many of the closest friendships and collaborations I've formed over 12 years of blogging are with people who identify as LGB and/or T, intersex, nonbinary, or genderqueer.

My best friend is a gay man. We have made each other laugh, we have talked about the worst things that have happened to us, we have annoyed the shit out of each other, we have gotten tattooed together, we have watched terrible television via text, we have survived watching Heaven Is for Real together in his lovely Baltimore flat, we have sent each other obnoxious gifts through the mail, we have eaten the best macaroni and cheese on the planet together, we have talked about movies and music and television shows and politics and culture and food and cats and dogs and love and sex and aging and family and surviving.

He loves to gang up on me with my husband to give me all kinds of shit, and it makes me cry with laughter. And it makes me feel very known and loved. I try very hard to make him feel the same way.

Since I was five years old, and probably before, there hasn't been a major event in my life — not a birthday party, a graduation, a holiday celebration, a wedding, an anniversary, an illness, an achievement, any joy or sadness at all — that has not included queer people I love, even if it was long before they came out.

There hasn't been a single day at all.

The truth is, the queer people in my life are my family. Often in ways that my family of origin hasn't been, couldn't be.

When I was a weird, fat, ugly, awkward, feminist kid, members of the queer community accepted me, and loved me, and let me love them back. And now that I am a weird, fat, ugly, awkward, feminist adult, a 45-year-old, tattooed, childfree woman who is often regarded with suspicion and disdain from straight people in my cohort, nothing has changed.

I've forged bonds, personal and professional, with many queer folks because of shared aspects of our complex identities: Other feminists, fellow fatties, people who have mental illness, residents of "flyover" states, other writers, other activists.

I've never become friends with someone because they were queer, but it isn't irrelevant, either. We are all errant puzzle pieces looking for knobs and grooves that fit with our own — and for reasons, some more evident than others, mine have been more likely to fit with queer peoples', and theirs with mine.

I can't imagine how different, how much lesser, my life would be without my queer friends. It's not hyperbole when I say I'm honestly not sure if I would have survived.

I don't mean to canonize people in a way that is just as dehumanizing as demonizing them. The LGBTx community is incredibly diverse, and among that cacophony of diversity are people who extend warm acceptance, despite the risk and zero obligation to do so, to people outside their community, who don't really fit in anywhere else.

I only mean to say this: My life would be shit without my queer friends. That is an absolute fact.

And so is this: The world is better because queer people are in it.

Happy Pride Month. ♥

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