CW: COVID-19, mentions of depression, mentions of police brutality
EDIT: 3/14/21: I promoted some products from The Butters in this post, but after some horrible social media behavior from the owner, I can no longer support nor encourage purchases from this company. Purchase links will be removed, but content will remain more or less intact.
We’re over halfway through June. Formerly a month of events, parades, and businesses who don’t actually care about queer people putting up rainbow flags, this year it’s…well, you know what it’s like. Businesses are opening up all over the country, but let’s be honest: it’s not because it’s safe to do so. It’s because people and policy-makers are both impatient. Most of us are still wisely staying as isolated as we can.
As an introvert with social anxiety and auditory processing issues, I actually have yet to go to a public pride event! This year was going to be the year, but obviously…that is not going to happen. Even if there were an event within driving distance (I live in the rural South) I wouldn’t be inclined to go to it, due to people in my household who are higher risk in This, the Time of Plague.
So, this year I’m celebrating Pride the way I usually do: at home. And not only in June. I will channel Ebenezer Scrooge and vow to “honour
Christmas Pride in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” And this year, you can join me.
I wear my pride pins off and on all year round, but I’m making an extra effort this month! On the occasions I do such exciting things as go to the grocery store, I almost always have at least one pin on. They’re small enough that most people probably don’t notice, and that’s okay—it’s for me, not for others.
The need for face masks is an excellent opportunity to accessorize. A rainbow face mask is pretty hard to ignore, if that’s what you want. (Remember to wear it over your nose as well as your mouth. This message brought to you by my last visit to the store.)
My spouse, meanwhile, has opted for rainbow nail polish this month. Whatever your particular pride flag, there’s a decent chance you can get some cheap nail polish to match. One of my friends wore her trans flag nail polish to the dentist and got compliments, which was a huge and pleasant surprise to her. If you’re feeling really ambitious, do a striped or gradient manicure on an accent nail, or all of your nails. (Nails are also somewhat more subtle than a mask or a pin, if you’re not fully out or you don’t feel safe being super obvious.)
Support Queer Creators!
The Internet is littered with queer writers, artists, sex workers, and other creators, and your support is a great way to show appreciation and solidarity. That can mean commissioning an artist, throwing a tip at someone’s Ko-fi, purchasing items through affiliate links, or simply making sure to boost their voices. Tumblr and other social media is a great way to do the latter—liking someone’s art or writing is nice, but sharing means that it will find a wider audience, and some people in that audience just might pay for art.
This is also a great time to purchase through small queer-owned or queer-friendly businesses. Amazon is convenient, but many smaller businesses are suffering right now, and many that have always been LGBTQ+ friendly are pushed aside in Pride month for bigger businesses paying lip service to the queer community. My expertise being sex toy shops, my biggest tell that you’ve found a queer-friendly place is when they avoid gendering toys: “male toys” or “toys for women” versus the more inclusive “clitoral toys” or “dildos” or “toys for penises” or whatever. Some of my favorite queer-friendly shops are SheVibe, Betty’s Toy Box, and Early2Bed.
Would you prefer to buy items directly from a queer human making them? I can personally vouch for products from Funkit Toys as well as The Butters Hygienics Co., both of which are owned by self-identified LGBTQ+ individuals.
Engage on Social Media!
My depression at the moment is severe enough that I’m avoiding social media and, in fact, am struggling to socialize in any noticeable capacity…but that’s me. If you’re up for it, Pride Month is a great time to Tweet about your queerness, write a Facebook post about what Pride means to you, interact on queer Insta, or share queer content on Tumblr. Boost queer voices, and express your queer thoughts, even if those queer thoughts are as simple as “My brain short-circuits whenever Captain Janeway shows her biceps.”
Dismantle the Police!
Pride didn’t start as a way for cell service carriers to slap rainbows on a float and throw condoms to the crowd. It began as a riot, protesting against police brutality and inherent police bias.
The police are still targeting vulnerable people. Honor queer history by donating to Black Lives Matter or to your nearest local Bail Fund, or donate masks or other products so that people protesting can stay safe. If you are able to protest yourself, try to stay safely distanced, and if you’re white and protesting, try to protect your POC friends, because they will be targeted by the police trying to break up your peaceful protests
(Also, remember that the people who started the riots and led to our modern, joyful queer pride movement were largely trans POC, including Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, and if someone tries to tell you that trans people or POC don’t belong in LGBTQ+ spaces, eat that individual.)
Happy Pride Month!
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