Pride month, pride festivals, and pride marches. All pride everything, use to mean a fun, short, colorful, glitterful day with my friends. It also meant secretly going to the west side of the valley like Palm Springs, an hour drive or three-hour bus ride to be able to see anything pride related.
It sometimes also meant having to ask permission, going through hour long talks with my dad to convince him I was going simply as an “ally”. But I am not just an ally, I am a Queer, 20- year old chicanx womxn from the Eastern Coachella Valley. Even though I am not completely out within my family, I am here and I exist.
Rapunzel & Lover by Mariela Huazano
I exist through my art and community organizing in attempt to bring light, empowerment and representation to marginalized people, especially the brown, black and LGBTQ+ community.
Back then Pride was simply the day of Pride, it was also a time to remember that only on the west side it was okay to be LGBTQ+.
On my side of the valley it is still to this day not as safe to be out and visibly Queer. Although, I must highlight that we have started to move a little bit forward with our very own Pride Festival in the ECV. I had the opportunity to help organize the 2nd annual Pride in the ECV this year, our Pride was like no other pride ever. I mean it was still colorful and glitterful, but ours was very community oriented, it was home, it was a place where I saw la vecina, my sister, abuelitas and people of different age groups that looked like me, brown and queer coming together to celebrate and continue to emphasize the work needed.
The people we cannot forget to uplift, the youth, the trans of color, the queer of color, the ones that are being marginalized the most by institutions and our own community members. Although this month is for us by us, we can not forget that more change is needed. Like in many cities or unincorporated areas like my hometown Mecca, we need a safe space. We need a place where we can talk, support each other and heal. Words of encouragement “I’m here, I got you” from allies, although they mean a lot, can only go so far, we need a physical space, place. We need everybody who claims to be an ally to take action. Ally is not a noun to describe yourself, it is more of a verb like when you tell your primo to stop using gay as an offensive word, or speak up to somebody making another one feel unsafe/uncomfortable because of their gender or sexuality, using your privilege and resources to help us out too.
We need allies to be quiet and listen to us but also know when to stand up when we aren’t being heard.
Pride month is to celebrate our existence and resistance but also highlight the work that is still needed.