Will I Find Pride in 2020?
Health restrictions and violence against Black people has made it harder than ever to celebrate Pride this year
If you let many Black queer folks tell it, Pride isn’t that big of a deal because we’re queer 24/7, all year long.
Don’t believe the hype.
The stance makes sense. From the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest to the South, Queer spaces tend to be majority White, if they exist at all. And the gatekeepers of these spaces rarely make an effort to welcome queer folks of color anyway, including during Pride month. Despite that, Black and Brown gays have always managed to make our own spaces whether it be small gatherings, picnics, or meager club outings where friends invite their friends to create as solid of a pack as possible when entering a place that may not be so familiar, all in the name of a good time.
With Covid-19 shuttering what we once knew as parties, brunch, and parades, this Pride month has looked a lot different for many. Black queers who’d usually be spending this time most intimately with friends and loved ones, like myself, are restricted to virtual events at a time when physically being in community with your people is what matters and marks this time of year most. The restrictions placed on our ability to express and celebrate ourselves in a world that already excludes us and violates us makes it harder than ever to feel pride in our queerness or humanity.
I’ve built a community that gives me a sense of safety and stability in an ever-changing world. Now, it feels like the virus has taken that all away.
Owning my queerness had been a laborious task up until I came out at 19 years old. I routinely told myself: Keep it quiet. What will your friends think? What will your family think? I didn’t want to face the numerous ways my relationships with the people I loved could change. I didn’t want to face what claiming my bi-/pansexuality would mean for me in redefining myself. If I’d like who that queer person was and if she was worth risking what I thought I already knew about how I, as a Black woman, was perceived in this world.