Photo credit: Maddie Stellingwerf | The Oregonian/OregonLive.com
While Gay Pride holidays are celebrated in June because of the riots in NYC at the Stonewall Inn between June 28th and July 3rd , 1969. These days were spurred by years of bullying and abuse by police towards the people who just wanted to live their lives. Marcia P. Johnson lead that fight for our freedom and dignity.
We are still fighting.
I was working with a young trans person a while back and we were talking about Gay Pride and the history of this time. They didn’t know why there was a parade and while we peeled back the history of our culture; they realized that they have another history to learn. A history with them at the center because it is about the power of being trans (Marcia P. Johnson was a trans person of color) and beginning a movement that saved millions of lives around the globe. That
because both of us are queer; our individual intersectional identities, bind us with the same history.
This year Portland, OR celebrated Pride in July and thousands showed up to honor the old, celebrate the young and dance the dance of freedom for everyone in between. I tabled at the Q Center booth this year and got a chance to meet a new group of people here in Portland. Families escaping hateful policies in their home states. Families needing safety, support, and a way to feel like they are okay, normal, loved. I met a woman and her child who were overwhelmed that there was this
amount of support, connection, and obvious city-wide acceptance for who we are as queers. I met a black man in a wheelchair who moved here from Alabama and could not believe that he could be accepted and even honored by a party such as this one.
As a Jewish, lesbian, mom I think about intersectionality all the time. When is the time to leave? When do we pack up and take what we need and escape the chaos, fear? Being at Pride this year made me see how much we need to stay, vote, speak up and not allow the hateful ways that people are treated.
Gay Pride tells all that Love is Love. We also need to fight for this love, a contradiction for sure. While we fight to be seen, while we love big, we must also find our shared culture and orient toward our magnificent history. One that has a mix of ritual and culture as varied as those of us
in this community. The glory of who we are is as important as the struggle we face.
As Pulse plans for the Fall season, we are thinking about trainings and groups that the community needs. We are creating a group for trans men to explore masculinity, and a group for sex workers begins later in the Fall. We have a group now for people who are working towards licensure in social work that has openings. Pulse wants to answer the call to help in ways that fit our expertise. Let us know what you see out there that could use connection and maybe we can start something that meets that need.
Rosanne Marmor, LCSW is the Founder and CEO of Pulse Wellness, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Supervisor, Board member, and lifelong fighter for the rights of all humans to live safe, free, affirmed, and dignified no matter their circumstances.