The first time I ever went to a Pride celebration, I thought I was straight. I was 20 years old and working as an intern at a summer program in San Francisco. The internship gave me an excuse to finally live in the city I had dreamed about visiting since I was a kid.
That summer, San Francisco was the site of many innocent firsts: my first time riding a cable car, eating dim sum, entering an anarchist collective bookstore.
But celebrating Pride created firsts I’d later realize were more significant. At Pride, for the first time in my life, I saw an openly queer Latinx person, proudly waving a Mexican flag, the red and green outer columns replaced with rainbow stripes. In fact, I saw a whole stage dedicated to queer Latinx folks, who were dancing salsa and bachata, making queer jokes in Spanglish. For the first time, I saw queer Christians, dancing on floats decorated with sparkled crosses and signs that said “Christian + Gay = OK!”
It was 2008. Barack Obama had just been declared the Democratic nominee for president, and California had just become the second state to legalize gay marriage, so I imagine many queer people at that Pride celebration felt they were entering a new era of possibility.
It would take another decade for me to consider what the liberation and safety I felt in that space might have meant.
Growing up in Florida, I knew many people who showed disdain for Pride month. “Why do they have to shove it in our faces?” many friends in my neighborhood loved to say, as they watched the ostentatious floats on TV. That sort of messaging made it confusing for me to come to terms with my own queer identity.
But ever since my first parade, Pride has been a place of possibility, a space to see myself reflected back. This year would have finally been my first Pride as an openly queer woman. With the covid-19 crisis putting an end to mass gatherings, I’m mourning the loss.
A sixth night of mass demonstrations put government officials, law enforcement officers and protesters at odds in cities across the United States after George Floyd, a black man, was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Read the latest developments here.
In a letter made public Thursday, the Education Department said that Connecticut’s policy of allowing transgender girls to compete as girls in high school sports violates Title IX, which could cost the state federal funding.
The latest from our video team
Join us for the online premiere of “The Jessicas Are Turning 30,” a short documentary from The Lily.
Thursday, June 11, from 8-9 p.m. Eastern on Zoom
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the subjects of the film. Click here to register.
A figure to know
Annie Glenn (1920 — 2020)
Annie Glenn had a highly visible husband — she was married to astronaut John Glenn. Given that she had a severe stutter, that made her life in the public eye particularly difficult. “Lots of people would turn their backs and walk away from me,” she told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2001. “I have been laughed at many times.” In 1973, she took part in an intensive speech therapy program; when she finished, she called John Glenn at his office and spoke to him, for the first time, in complete sentences. She went on to become a preeminent advocate for those who struggle to communicate. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association presents a yearly award in her honor (known as the Annie) to someone who has an impact on people with speech or communication disorders. In 1987, actor James Earl Jones became the first recipient of the award. In 2009, Vice President Joe Biden received the award. Annie Glenn died of covid-19 in May at 100.
Until next time
But before we part, some recs
What I’m ordering online: Glue sticks, gel pens and a 100-sheet pack of colored cardstock. Over the last few weeks, I’ve rediscovered scrapbooking — a hobby I used to love, but haven’t picked up in years. My latest project: a home for all the bits and pieces I saved from my wedding.
What I’m wearing: I’m lucky enough to have a patio, and now that the weather is warmer, I’ve been trying to work outside. These comfy linen shorts from J. Crew are perfect outdoor WFH wear.
What I can’t wait to read: “Rodham,” by Curtis Sittenfeld. This book came out last week, but I pre-ordered it back in March. Sittenfeld dreams up a parallel universe where Hillary Clinton never met Bill. I truly cannot imagine a more fascinating hypothetical.