The opinions expressed in entries in the LC Blog are those of the author, not of Lawyers Club of San Diego.
In this month’s LC News, I wrote about the history of San Diego Pride (article available to Lawyers Club of San Diego members here). July 2020 will be the first year in decades without a San Diego LGBTQ+ community march. Here, I share what I believe will be lost by not having Pride in person.
If you have never been to Pride, imagine that you live surrounded by people who do not look like you (if you are Black, you already live this). Now, imagine that once a year you attend a festival filled with only people who look like you, who love like you, and who see you. And who are doing so loudly, joyfully, and with glitter. It is uplifting, energizing, and heart-expanding.
There is no replacement for Pride.
Not celebrating Pride in person means kids coming out won’t have the opportunity to be validated by thousands of people like them who support them. Children of LGBTQ+ parents won’t have the benefit of meeting other kids from families like theirs. Places of worship, civic organizations, city and county offices, and businesses won’t be able to declare their openness and support for a community that so often feels underrepresented and displaced. Someone just coming out might not see a suicide prevention hotline or get information about a support group.
It means that the community does not get to express its gratitude to the volunteers and leaders who fight tirelessly for LGBTQ+ representation and equality year-round. It means that a cisgender, straight mother won’t get to hold her LGBTQ+ child’s hand as they both walk in the parade for the first time.
I came out in 1987 (yes, children, we had Pride that long ago) and attended my first Pride parade in 1988. Since then, I have been to Pride in one city or another every single year. At times, I have been extremely involved in organizing. I have marched proudly down University Avenue chanting and cheering, and when I was not able to march, I have ridden on floats. I have marched with my parents, tears streaming down our faces as people applauded – my father asking who they were cheering for, and my mother answering, “Us, I think.” And, I have brought my children repeatedly. I have dressed in crazy outfits, carried signs, thrown beads, danced, celebrated, and faced protesters. I have participated proudly in person every single year, except this one.
There is just no way to replace the feeling of being surrounded by a hundred thousand people who are just like you, or who love you just the way you are. So, what can you do? If you know someone who is LGBTQ+ (and you do), find a way to show your support: Fly a rainbow flag, display a bumper sticker, wear a t-shirt, post on social media, or join a virtual Pride event. Though we feel the loss of attending Pride in person, there is nothing that can “cancel” the LGBTQ+ community. We have persevered throughout history, and this year is no different. We are still proud. And there is still glitter.
Tristan Higgins is a lawyer of 23 years and the founder of Metaclusive LLC, a diversity, equity, inclusion, and intersectionality speaking and consulting firm.