Where Pride Goes From Here

I know I’m not the only one who sighed in relief once we made it through the last weekend of Pride without incident. As much as the month-long recognition of queer identity is a time for joy, celebration, resistance, and remembrance… It has also, recently, become a crisis.

Across the country, LGBTQ+ rights have come under attack in ways we haven’t seen in living memory. Having fought and achieved an unprecedented level of social, legal, and political acceptance, the American queer community writ large is facing a brutal backlash against our very existence. There’s no need to list and litigate every danger — from the effort to erase trans people through legislation to the flood of death threats against drag performers — but safe to say that if a corporate brand partnering with a trans influencer makes her fear for her life, we are in a very bad place.

And while even Trump-appointed judges have thrown out some of the most egregious anti-trans laws at the state level, the Supreme Court still has no love for the girls, gays, and theys. On the last day of pride month, the conservative majority ruled that it’s ok to discriminate against queer people in many settings as long as Jesus told you so. This decision wipes out a major component of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Because gay people give the conservative justices the ickies, and that has to be law now. 

In the coming days, weeks, and months, life for many LGBTQ+ people could likely get a lot worse before we have any hope of it getting better.

Which is why the end of June and pride is not a time to wind down our awareness of the LGBTQ+ struggle. It’s a call to action.

And I’m not saying it’s a moment for the community under siege to further organize in our own defense; if you’re queer, your survival is enough. No, this is the space for allies to pick up the heavy lifting that gets weightier when Pride has faded as a focus. If you’re a friend, sibling, parent, supporter, or self-described ally of any LGBTQ+ person, this is the moment to put yourself between them and their attackers. Spare change? Time to donate to activists and organizations supporting queer life. Pride is over, but the LGBTQ+ people we love still need space, safety, and affirmation.

This pride month, we were reminded that queer joy is tied to queer resistance in a world that is constantly trying to suppress the fullness of who we are. Living loud is a legacy that each new generation inherits and protects, through refusing to let ourselves be silenced. Many of us have grown up in a world where we were made possible because of people who never stopped fighting for space to be themselves, and that struggle now belongs to all of us. This isn’t about a small minority, marginalized, asking to survive; this is about a majority demanding our rights to live and love as we choose.

So as the way forward becomes defined by those who try to hold us back, it’s worth remembering the apocryphal rule: Never let a crisis go to waste.

Kaitlin Byrd
Kaitlin Byrd
Knows too much, thinks even more. Has infinite space in her heart for tea and breakfast for dinner. Really from New York, so always ready to cut a bitch.