Jun 1, 2022

Pride Month 2022: Convictions in Precarious Times

"20201107_140937" by 7beachbum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

by Maggie Sacra, Chair of LGBT Democrats of Virginia

For many folks, the last time they had the chance to attend a Pride was 2019. A few Pride committees moved forward in 2021 hoping that the COVID pandemic would fade. Some succeeded, but most were not fortunate enough to have an ebb in the positivity rates, so they again had to cancel. We’ve all waited, and hoped that next month, or year, we’d get back to “normal”. It feels like 2022 may be that year, although there will probably be talk of positivity rates and safety concerns, so please heed CDC guidelines for your area.

Concern over safety is nothing new for the LGBT+ community. Many of us have faced the fear of a virus before. Many have also faced discrimination of various kinds, including physical attacks. We persevered in the past and we will persevere in the future, even though things are very uncertain in our world as Pride 2022 begins.

Just a short time ago things appeared to be moving in a positive direction as Supreme Court decisions were making our lives better by striking down laws that negatively impacted our loving relationships. We gained the right to marry. But today, so much is in question as a regressive and activist Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade. The arguments being made make it very clear that marriage for gay couples is on the chopping block. Hate rhetoric of the past few years, which came from the very top of our political world, has made the lives of LGBT+ people (especially T people of color) very dangerous. Almost every day in the gay press I see news of another rape, beating, murder, or attempt to roll back LGBT+ rights. We are definitely in a precarious time.

This year, COVID is still top of mind, but unfortunately, something as deadly has also become more and more evident as an increasing risk. Domestic terrorism, including a number of racist, homophobic, transphobic, and antisemitic attacks, have dampened the excitement of Pride month for some. Questions of “Will it be safe?” no longer refer to concerns over the Coronavirus, but of bullets, knives, trucks & cars, baseball bats, and fists.

I don’t write this to warn of doom and gloom. I actually am writing this because I believe that we can reverse the negative by living each day so that those around us that call themselves our allies will grow stronger in their convictions and support of the LGBT+ community. We will need all these allies as we collectively fight to make our world a better place for everyone. As we all march, work to elect progressive politicians, and stand up in the face of hatred, we will make Virginia and the USA a place of hope, compassion, empathy, fairness, and equality.

I also write this to make sure that each person reading this will know that just as we learned as kids to “Stop, Drop, and Roll” to put out a fire, we need to heed the words of experts in active shooter situations that we should “Run, Hide, and Fight”. If you find yourself confronted by an active shooter or similar situation, do everything you can to get yourself as far away as possible, hide in as secure a place as you can find, and finally if you come face-to-face with evil and have no other choice, fight like you’ve never fought before!

I hope that we’ll see you at a Pride again this year. Our Board is gearing up to be across the state this year from June to October being proud of who we are, and standing up for equality every day! Happy Pride this June and every day throughout the year! Stay safe and we hope to see you soon!