28 Jun Pride in these Political Times
Pride in These Political Times
Pride is a time of celebration. A time to recognize resilience and proudly be out in the world. In 2000, Bill Clinton designated June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. Then in 2009, Barack Obama brought more inclusivity to the month with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month (LGBTQ).
In Atlanta, fall is our Pride celebration. Piedmont Park is busy with Black Pride on Labor Day weekend. Atlanta Pride is the weekend of October 14-15.
The first Pride parade in 1970 marked the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City. The Stonewall uprising began on June 28, 1969 when the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich, New York. The NYPD had brutally hauled patrons and employees out of the bar and to jail. This was not unusual in 1969. However, on this night people fought back igniting a 6-day violent protest.
It is important to know that in 1969 homosexual acts were illegal as was “masquerading as someone of the opposite sex”. Fighting for gay rights grew dramatically from the Stonewall uprising.
Due to the many activisits that have worked tirelessly to gain safety and equal rights for queer people over the last 40+ years, we have come a long way. In fact, it has been 8 years since marriage equality became federal law.
Unfortunately in 2023, there are people actively seeking to turn the clock back. This year, more than 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in 41 states; 75 have become laws. The 17th Annual LGBTQ+ Community Survey, a survey of over 14,000 LGBTQ+ adults from all 50 states and Washington, DC found the following:
- 43% of LGBTQ+ adults report that gender-affirming care bans impact their physical and/or mental health.
- 80.1% transgender and non-binary adults report the same.
- 79.1% LGBTQ+ adults report that gender-affirming care bans make them feel less safe.
- For transgender and non-binary adults, this number increases to 94%.
Hate crimes, especially against trans people, are increasing. Books about the queer experience are being banned at school and public libraries at record rates. Pride themed products at Target were moved to the back of the store in certain areas to shield the bigoted.
It is frightening for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and their loved ones. The recent political climate may have you donning Pride gear to be a visible celebrant or ally. It can also cause a desire to lay low and stay safe. Both are valid.
It would be unusual not to have experienced micro aggressions throughout your life if you identify as LGBTQ+. Worse, to have experienced bullying or outright violent assaults. The current climate can trigger traumatic memories and physical responses.
Trauma Response Examples:
- Rumination on painful memories
- Panic attacks; sweating, shaking, teeth chattering, shortness of breath, heart palpitations
- Anger outbursts
- Crying more than usual
- Isolating from friends and family
- Sleeping or eating more or less than usual
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Hypervigilance; scanning for threats
- Suicidal ideation
It is especially painful when friends, co-workers, and/or family members support the politicians that are making life unsafe for our community. You may have worked hard to heal from past trauma or are currently processing traumatic events related to identity. Experiencing a resurgence of trauma responses is disruptive to physical and mental health. Take your trauma responses seriously. Intentionally practicing self-compassion and self-care makes a difference.
- Spend time with your community or a supportive friend
- Go to Pride events or plan one
- Validate your own feelings; anger, sadness, fear
- Practice deep breathing
- Eat enough
- Physical movement
- Journal to identify and clarify thoughts and feelings
- Read queer authors – library or buy local
- Remind yourself that a majority of the population has come a long way
- Therapy with a culturally competent therapist
- Join a queer support group
- Join a support group for families of the LGBTQ+ community
When Roe v. Wade was overturned, I was deeply concerned about women’s rights. I was also worried about the enduring legality of my marriage based on comments from a certain Supreme Court Justice about overturning the same-sex marriage decision.
I had my hope restored when the bi-partisan Respect for Marriage Act passed in response to these comments. Target giving in to the pressure to move Pride merchandise to the back of the store in some areas pissed me off, but I have to remember that it shocks me to see it there at all. We are still moving forward.
Stay informed, vote, and take care of yourself.
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Kate Murphy, LCSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Chamblee, GA, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often. Personally and professionally she is part of the adoptee and LGBTQ+ community. Licensed in GA & FL.
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