What We Celebrate When We Celebrate Pride

At the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we celebrate Pride with a look at how far we’ve come and how far there is left to go.

Fifty years after the Stonewall Riots–wherein a NYC gay bar police raid became a three day rebellion started by trans women of color, an event considered the definitive start of the modern gay rights movement–Pride’s meaning continues to transform as policies and societal stigmas constantly shift. For many people who identify as LGBTQIA+, Pride is joyful, but also incredibly nuanced and often weighted by historical context, personal experiences, and recent legislative developments.

 

Whether we celebrate Pride as an ally or as a member of LGBTQIA+ communities, it’s important to understand Pride’s history and true goals.

Color reigns at most Pride marches, including at Las Vegas Pride 2018. Photo by Kate Russell

One victory to celebrate is the growing visibility of LGBTQIA+ people in the media which brings much needed representation to our screens. Representation that is not saturated by stereotypes helps to humanize these diverse groups of people to audiences that may not normally have intimate access. Just 20 years ago, it was common for advertisers to threaten to pull their funding from TV networks if gay content was aired; a contrast to recent years where 5% of LGBTQIA+ characters are transgender. Even with such progress, there is much more to make, as most queer storylines predominately feature cisgender, white and male narratives. It is crucial for our media to be intersectional in the stories it tells to ensure every group within the LGBTQIA+ is recognized.

Saints Ball and Guava Soleil pose for a photoshoot for Meow Wolf’s Pride After Party. Photo by Kate Russell

“Race is a social construct, gender is a social construct, but it is also a political reality,” transgender actress Laverne Cox tells New York Magazine in a video interview.

In order to help combat these political realities, minority groups must be responsibly represented and discussed in the media. Visibility has the potential to humanize and give validation to those who are struggling to come to terms with their queer identity. This is one reason millions have chosen to join in Pride celebrations across the world – for visibility, solidarity, and connection.

 

While some have the privilege to celebrate Pride safely and joyfully, many do not.

 

When someone is left isolated, without resources or community, they are more likely to have suicidal ideations or attempt suicide. Visibility is not a single solution to the complex problems facing these communities, but the validation visibility brings can provide hope, boost self-worth and potentially assist in reducing the suicide rate amongst LGBTQIA+ people.

A photo from 2018 Las Vegas Pride shows a marcher with a sobering sign about how trans youth suicide. Photo by Kate Russell

Another victory to celebrate is the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community. Despite recent horrific acts of violence, such as the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in 2016, members of the LGBTQIA+ communities worldwide continue to find resilience and strive to rebuild in the spirit of the Stonewall Riots: by facing state agents and extreme violence head-on. Celebrating Pride is an act of resistance. While some argue these acts of violence are only products of uniquely disturbed individuals, legislations like Trump’s Military Transgender Policy*, the U.S. rollback on health care for transgender people and the Vatican’s recently released document* dismissing the concept of gender identity, further normalize homophobia and transphobia on a global scale, thus normalizing and perpetuating intolerance and violence.

 

The ways in which discrimination manifests are not always obvious, and are often systematic. . . 

“Everybody’s got the right to be happy” reads a marcher’s sign at last year’s Las Vegas Pride. Photo by Kate Russell.

Other seemingly more minor acts actually affect the community in damaging ways. Currently, there are no U.S. federal laws that ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender, and only 22 states prohibit employment discrimination due to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Although many have viewed the legalization of gay marriage a major feat–and it is–many adoption agencies and housing authorities still practice unchecked state discrimination against same-sex couples. The ways in which discrimination manifests are not always obvious, and are often systematic and easy to ignore (unless you are part of these marginalized groups).

A family celebrates Pride in Las Vegas, 2018. Photo by Kate Russell

America is far from immune from the violence and prejudices thought to have been resolved in the days of Emmett Till, and other countries are no exception. For the last four years, Turkish and Montenegro Pride participants have faced tear gas and/or rubber bullets, while Russia has banned Pride until 2112, leaving many countries contemplating their status. Conversations surrounding LGBTQIA+ rights continue to be heavily convoluted in worldwide media by religious rhetoric, as well as non-LGBTQIA+ people speaking on behalf of these communities.

 

Pride serves as a time when LGBTQIA+ people can take the microphones and speak publicly to their own experiences. . . 

Allison Saint of Saints Ball who will perform at Meow Wolf’s Pride After Party. Photo by Kate Russell

Pride serves as a time when LGBTQIA+ people can take the microphones and speak publicly to their own experiences, removing assumptions and replacing them with real perspectives and experiences. 

Many local and global organizations prioritize cultivating spaces for freedom by supplying resources for LGBTQIA+ people during Pride as well as year around.

In Santa Fe, the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico provides resources for LGBTQIA+ people, as well as ways for allies to donate and volunteer. The Mountain Center and NM Gender and Sexualities Alliance Network serves LGBTQIA+ and allies ages 13-24 and hosts programs year-round and state-wide. Solace provides Trans 101 trainings, as well as resources for LGBTQ+ specific sexual violence prevention and trauma recovery.

Albuquerque just celebrated a successful Pride June 6–8th and was supported by the ACLU of New Mexico, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Effex Nightclub.

Santa Fe will host its 2019 Pride Parade on June 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Plaza.

 

A snapshot of Santa Fe Pride in the Plaza 2018 from Santafepride.com

Meow Wolf will host the official Pride After Party on June 29 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Meow Wolf. Their first Pride event, the night will feature drag performances, dancing, and music from Nicolatron, DJ Oona, Saints Ball, as well as an art installation by Marina Fini.

Pride is a critical time of the year for countless individuals around the world as society continues to shift politically and socially. It is a declaration of the importance and validity of LGBTQIA+ lives, the beauty and power within these communities, and the immense contributions they continue to make to our world. While some have the privilege to celebrate Pride safely and joyfully, many do not. Some will join their community in the streets, while others will secretly inch closer to recognizing their identity privately and publicly.

 

However you celebrate, Pride reminds us of how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

 

Saints Ball and Guava Soleil for Meow Wolf’s Pride After Party. Photo by Kate Russell

Full Schedule of Pride Events in Santa Fe:

Rainbow Family Pride Festival

June 23 – 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

All ages family Pride celebration at the Santa Fe Railyard Park with games, prizes, arts & crafts, food trucks, face painting and more. Held by the Santa Fe Community Foundation and Envision Fund. FREE

 

Beyond Pink & Blue: A Community Trans 101 Training

June 25 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

An introduction to terms, best practices, and the creative navigation of binary systems for transgender communities with Jess Clark at Solace. FREE

 

Taz Presents: Pride edition art showcase & business mixer

June 27 – 8 to 10 p.m.

Shontez “Taz” Morris presents her “Love, Light and Awakening Gallery” PRIDE EDITION showing in the Learning Center and Float Cafe + Bar at Meow Wolf. $5

 

Pride Storytime

June 28 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

All ages storytime featuring books about LGBTQIA+ history, identities, resilience and joy at Meow Wolf’s Learning Center. FREE

 

Queer Space – Pride edition

June 28 –  6:30 to 9 pm

Need help with your outfit or sign for Pride? Come to Meow Wolf’s Learning Center for sewing and styling help from costumer Karen Billard and art therapists, Nancy Lemmon and Jess Brennan. All ages. FREE

 

Gay Pride Glitter Queer Women’s Dance Party

June 28 – 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

GLITTER Santa Fe’s Longest Running/Hottest Queer Women’s Dance Party! Glitter’s favorite Go-Go’s Allison & Avery! Burlesque, and DJ Oona. Tickets $18–22

 

The Art of Gender Illusion Playskool

June 29 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mini drag shows on the hour, every hour, make-up/glitter station with demonstrations, choreography workshop, and much more at Meow Wolf’s Learning Center. All ages. FREE

 

2019 Pride Parade

June 29 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Santa Fe will host the official Pride Parade on in the Plaza. FREE

 

Meow Wolf Pride

June 29 – 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Meow Wolf will host the official Pride After Party at Meow Wolf. Their first Pride event, the night will feature drag performances, dancing, and music from Nicolatron, DJ Oona, Saints Ball, as well as an art installation by Marina Fini. Tickets $18–22.

 

Click here for all Meow Wolf Events