I try to pretend that October is my favorite month. My mom, my nephew and I all have birthdays in October. Halloween is in October. The weather is amazing in October. Though really, I love June; I know you wouldn’t think it because I’ve been very loud about my disdain over summertime and heat, but Pride month is my favorite month.
Pride Month 2020 feels different though. It could be that we’re still in isolation. It could also be that we’re in the middle of a global revolution.
It feels odd to do any kind of celebrating right now. Spend one hour online and you’ll be bombarded by the news and that all can be a little overwhelming. If you’ve been following me on any social media (@juliexplores on all platforms) then you know that I’ve been extremely outspoken about my stance on the Black Lives Matter Movement. I thought I’d share my thoughts here as well.
Black Lives Matter should not be an outrageous statement, yet I’ve seen it bring out the worst in people when being confronted with it. Specifically, to my fellow brown people, I want to say: Nobody is saying that you are not also oppressed. What we’re saying is even with everything we go through, we will never truly understand what Black people go through in this world. The system was designed against them and it’s time for some change. A step in the right direction for one, is a step in the right direction for all.
Let us not forget, (because I know that some of y’all often do) Afro-Latinx people exist. We must confront the racist tendencies that are within our community and educate our elders. I know that it’s hard, trust me my conversations with my father have never been easy. If the protests feel too overwhelming, if speaking out in a public forum feels anxiety-inducing, then I urge you to start at home. Be the change you want to see in the world and start with your family.
I also want to reiterate, when I say Black Lives Matter, I mean every single one of them. I mean the transgendered and gender-nonconforming community especially. Use this Pride Month to truly understand how dangerous this country (and many others) are for Black Trans Women.
Of course I wish I could be dancing in West Hollywood amidst a slew of drunk, high and sweaty people but if we need to take a break from all that to change the world then I’m okay with that. Instead take this time to better educate yourself. Watch the documentary 13th on Netflix, which explains the systemic racism that built this country. Watch Moonlight on Netflix to see how a young boy, coming to terms with his sexuality, goes through the world. Watch If Beale Street Could Talk on Hulu to watch a beautiful love story that is full of ache when Fonny gets arrested for a crime that he did not commit. Watch POSE, to find the joy and drama in ballroom culture that was prevalent in the 80’s and to see people navigating the HIV crisis. The content is out there, I promise that you’ll be better for having consumed it.
All that to say, maybe this is not the Pride Month that we are used to but we must grab this moment and be part of the change that we’ve been yearning for.
Pictures from past Pride Months for some throwback joy: