I would like to include a special dedication to the life and legacy of Daniel Flier known as Vanessa Vincent, MGMA 1982. The huge loss at Daniel's passing will be felt for a very long time as his affect was significant to so many, including me. Personally, I never fully knew what sort of future I had until Daniel encouraged me to let it unfold with grit, wit, and a sense of self. With a clarity like none other, Daniel spoke, moved, and dedicated his life to seeing people for who they are. He celebrated his circle of people and made many feel understood and seen. As for me and our MGMA family, it is to love like Daniel's that we will commit ourselves. May he rest. -- Tajma
It's PRIDE month and it thrills me to see non-queer people everywhere take notice of our VISIBILITY--the main reason for this special time. We walk in parades, we hold festivals small, large, and humongous, we display the most noticeable colors, and we make noise about it. Those of us that have seen PRIDE month come and go for many years, still get a thrill at its return and even the most cynical know the need we have for VISIBILITY.
One thing I'm going to challenge you to do, as I have for myself, is forget about things that stand in your way of truly enjoying your PRIDE festival. Forget about the summer heat, forget about what others are doing, forget about getting turnt right away, and enjoy a moment of PRIDE for yourself. Enjoy the knowledge that this is intended to be a judgment-free celebration. Concentrate on what it must feel like to experience real joy (perhaps just as it was at your first PRIDE) and see to it that your gratitude is focused on the meaning of the moment. Finally, make yourself visible--with your outfits, your songs, your speech, and encourage others to feel the moment. In fact, insist on others knowing that this is FOR US!
Think of this--it would be a different type of month and feeling if we were able to maintain lives as average citizens with freedoms to live as we like, marry as we like, procreate and parent as we like, and love as we like; but most of our world sees us "alternative," "hedonistic," and "wrong." This notion, however, makes me appreciate and relish how SPECIAL I am. To have people set aside my life because I'm gay is cruel, but conversely, it means I can have things all my own--my style, my language, my hangouts, my chosen family, etc.
This sectioning shows me that exclusivity is not always a bad thing. Personally, it is something that helps me recognize the PRIDE that I possess as a queer individual. It helps me identify and magnify elements of myself that are unique to me and only me. However, for some, it magnifies their loneliness--it feels like separation and although that feeling is valid, it is our job to help those that feel alienated to recognize that they can be seen. And that is why PRIDE month/year/lifetime must exist. To provide hope, perspective, and validate those that feel unloved. PRIDE shows that strength in community is necessary, needed, and wanted.
I hope you'll celebrate your unique Pride this month and when you look back on PRIDE 2022, I hope you'll remember what you did to make it VISIBLE. You'll feel good and you'll encourage your family, chosen and otherwise, to see you for you. And as a wonderful byproduct, you'll help someone realize that they, like you, can have comfort in their queerness.
I'm thrilled to get to celebrate at five (and counting) PRIDE festivals and shows this year:
I hope you'll find me at each of these events so we can have a laugh, snap a selfie, and CELEBRATE PRIDE TOGETHER!