My plan for the Ace of Babes column this month was to talk about inclusivity within the LGBTQ community. I was going to concede that, of course, we still have work to do, but look at us right now! Look at the ever-widening embrace of the queer community and love it for what it is! Love yourselves and your friends for where you are right now!
It was going to be a little cheesy.
I was going to be especially optimistic because I am an asexual who mostly feels welcome in queer spaces. (For the unaware, asexuality is defined as a lack of sexual attraction, not necessarily a lack of a sex life: lifestyles vary from ace to ace.) There are plenty of people who (best case scenario) criticize asexuals for our naïveté or (worst case scenario) accuse us of having undiagnosed mental or physical disorders.
Sure, I’ve met meanies who tried to undermine my sexuality, but they were rarely a part of the queer community. Usually if I tell a queer person that I’m asexual, they just have a list of kind, curious follow up questions.
Anyhoo, my plan was to encourage celebration. Celebrate your arduous journey of self-discovery. Celebrate the strength it took to be yourself in public. Celebrate our ever-diversifying community.
Because it has meant so much to me to feel seen by other parts of the queer community, I was going to encourage everyone to find the group at Pride with which you are least familiar, and let them know that you are glad that they are a stripe in our rainbow.
But after I started that piece a lot changed.
As I am typing this, we have been under Stay-at-Home orders for about a month and a half.
Some in America are gleefully showing off their racist underbelly.
As I write this, Pride was cancelled a few weeks ago.
There are rumblings about health care restrictions for LGBTQ people.
COVID-19 has killed tens of thousands of people in the United States alone.
Things feel bleaker, less hopeful.
And as much as I want to close my eyes and pretend that everything isn’t a weird mashup of monotony and terror right now, the truth is that that’s where we’re at.
And yet, even in the middle of all of this scary bullshit, this community continues to show up in incredible ways. I haven’t seen one person complain about Pride being cancelled. Instead, I see queer communities across the nation building support networks for artists, gig workers, the homeless, and the immunocompromised. I see people who didn’t need their stimulus checks donating that money to grassroots organizations that reallocate those funds to people who do need them.
I see queer people donating blood (despite donations from gay men still being unfairly restricted), emotionally supporting both biological and chosen families, completely readjusting to newly constrained lifestyles, and trying to lighten the mood with jokes and memes when that’s that’s left in the tank. I see this community creating new, digital spaces to share art, to dance, and to talk.
This is a community to be proud of. You are all resilient, kind, strong, creative, and full of love. It is humbling to be a part of a community that manages to stay vibrantly alive when it’s tempting to hibernate.
All of you inspire me. I am inexpressibly proud of the history, the present, and the future of queer communities around the world.
It is different this year, but Happy Pride.