By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.
Pride – noun: “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or consciousness of one’s own dignity.”
Each year Pride Month brings with it the perennial debate – Should Pride be celebrating our accomplishments vs protesting what hasn’t been done? I guess it depends on how you look at it in a glass half full or half empty sort of way. To be sure there’s a place and need for both, one energizes and inspires the spirit and the other focuses energy and attention on the work to be done once all the glitter has fallen and the music has stopped. Ultimately, what’s important is we find what unites us with our Community. Unity has gotten us to where we are today and is the strength required to fight for its future.
But this year, Pride 2023 is occurring in one of the most perilous times for our Community, possibly the most perilous.
We’ve always been warned about threats to our LGBTQ+ Community, but now we are under attack on many different fronts from people we never could have imagined. When the first Pride March and Rally took place in 1970, state legislatures weren’t actively passing a tsunami of laws to discriminate against us and prohibit healthcare to transgender families. The ACLU is currently tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country, 46 of which have already been enacted.
Those first marchers who started up Sixth Ave in New York on the last Sunday in June were nervous, not knowing what to expect from onlookers; but the entire day went off without incident. Now we have terrorist hate groups, like the Proud Boys and NAZIs, showing up armed with assault weapons to drag queen story hours and Pride marches/event.
This is what more than half a century of LGBTQ+ civil rights has come to – a future that looks more oppressive and dangerous than life for us pre-Stonewall. That’s why for Pride 2023 theOUTfront wants to rekindle the spirit of protest and fighting back like the one which ignited the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969.
Our artwork for “Proud Out Loud” this year reflects a street graffiti protest style to inspire the spirt of “Enough!” — the same one patrons at Stonewall felt when they pushed back against police oppression. Over the four nights of the Stonewall Riot’s everyone showed up: Drag Queens, People of Color, Gays, Lesbian, Transgender people, and we need everyone and our allies to show up again and say, Enough!
Pride is something worth fighting for. Our Community is worth fighting for. Our stories, our art, our history our families, our very lives and the freedom to choose how we live them and with whom are worth fighting for. Let Pride Month 2023 inspire and motivate you to say “Enough!” to the haters and be Proud Out Loud!
Throughout June, in addition to our usual posts, we’ll be bringing you special Pride Month features spanning the spectrum of interests from LGBTQ+ history, activism, culture and entertainment, as well as fun and celebrations. After all, seeing our happiness enrages the haters. It negates their core belief that if you’re not straight, your life is miserably unhappy. All the more reason to be Proud Out Loud!
As is our annual tradition, we’ll also be featuring a special Pride Month series on Twitter of LGBTQ+ writers, icons, and activists who words continue to inspire us, especially now with their being banned in schools, libraries, and bookstores.
For our special Pride series
Please follow us on Twitter @TheOUTFront
and Instagram @theOUTfront
To start Pride 2023 off on the right foot, we wanted to inspire everyone to defy those who would try to oppress them and our Community with this power anthem. We hope it lifts you up and reminds you of your unlimited ability to create change for good. This is “Defying Gravity” from Wicked.
Happy Pride from theOUTfront!
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