I am proud of my journey, proud of the work I put out, proud of how I have been present for others, proud of how I have co-created my life, making the most I could out of what I was handed, both inside my mind & spirit and outside, the environment I faced.
It is that pride which keeps me going in my own isolation & loneliness, keeps me claiming my hard earned wisdom even as others tend to blanch at my words, finding them dynamic and challenging.
My pride is my solace, no doubt.
What I don’t have, though, is a strong connection to shared pride, to group identities and tribal conventions.
My experience growing up trans, especially double-queer, is much the same as my experience growing up as the child of Asperger’s parents: I had to learn to struggle through alone.
I’m not alone in this. When I confronted trans health “experts” on how they appeared to fail in reaching out to transpeople who aren’t visible to the LGBT “community,” almost every transperson in the room came to me after to say that I had voiced concerns they had, issues of separation and isolation.
Today, Pride has turned into a tool of “activists,” those who want to corral people into bands for political action, for commercial benefit, or for both. Pride — with the capital “P” — is much more about the weight of compliant followers than about any celebration of queer, individual, diversity.
Does not feeling safe & welcome at Pride events mean that I have no pride? Or does it just mean that Pride doesn’t reflect the real strength, the real stories, the real pride of those who activists claim to represent?
Learning to hold back, to not trust that those enmeshed in gay & lesbian conventions would understand, affirm, or even tolerate my queerness, was the obvious solution.
I recently got taught that lesson again when a professional I worked with for over two years decided I was too queer for their group, demanding that I become more policed, more silent and more compliant or depart. Since that choice was a choice that would deny my own pride, there was no real choice; I departed, “honouring their intention.”
They made it clear that they do believe that there should be someplace for people like me. That place just shouldn’t be anyplace that they feel comfortable, safe and defended in, any place that challenges the long and deeply held tenets of their soothing group identity.
Is there any wonder that Pride can’t really celebrate pride?