June 11 2018

I am a rural LGBTQ civil rights attorney.  On any given day in my office in the heart of a farmworker community, I might open a new case by interviewing an LGBTQ immigrant.  Most likely, she is a transgender woman who has survived a violent attack here in the U.S. or in her home country.  She is a survivor, forging ahead with her life.  She is fighting for her rights.  She hasn’t given up.

I might pick up the phone and hear the voice of a parent.  Parents regularly call us seeking help for their LGBTQ children.  Their children come out, sometimes very young, and they struggle in schools ill-equipped to support them.  From a young age, LGBTQ children often have that special wisdom that a strong life, a life of meaning, requires authenticity.

Throughout the year my colleagues and I team up with rural LGBTQ leaders.  These leaders have an unshakeable vision.  They might dream of an LGBTQ center that transforms their small town or city.  They might plan to break the silence in their local schools around LGBTQ issues.  They might be on a quest to make their streets and homes safer and more accepting.

I see pride in each one of these individuals.  They are our heroes.  In their daily lives, they model courage, perseverance, tenacity, or “ganas” as we often say in Spanish.  These core strengths, this pride, sets the foundation for our resilience as an LGBTQ community.

What makes Pride season so special is that we collectively bring out into public those superpowers we use to get through our daily lives as LGBTQ folks, moving through a world that does not always understand or embrace us.  We are unapologetic about our lives, our love, our style.  We celebrate and share our joy.  We pay homage to the fearless trans women of color and homeless queer youth who fought back against police brutality and criminalization, and inspired, indeed, propelled our movement forward.  Pride is a building block for our external power that is steadily transforming society around us.  That is what we celebrate.  That is what pride means to me.

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