Editor’s Note: Remember to Be Radical 

It’s Pride month, and what I didn’t want to do was push trauma into the faces of LEO’s LGBTQ+ readers. There is enough news about how the queer community is being demonized and scapegoated by politicians, and I didn’t want this space to be that. I feel like we all know those stories, and with 491 bills across the country, the hatred is systemic. What I did want for this issue was some respite, a bit of joy, and stories that lift this community. 

I try to do the same with issues of trauma across the board. I think LEO can report relevant news without trauma porn.  

My interactions with the LGBTQ+ community came as a young child. I have gay family, as we all do, but I didn’t know what “gay” meant until I was about 11 and learned that my best friend’s mother was a lesbian. What I knew then was that I became a second daughter, deeply cared for and welcomed into her home on a daily basis. I met her partners, broke bread across her table, and when my parents were working — and the need arose — my sister and I were given shelter with her. So my impression of what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community is informed by the safety and acceptance I found without question in the home of this woman whom I still consider family. 

As I grew through the ‘80s, aware of the AIDS crisis, and saw the fear-mongering that pushed a struggling queer community to the brink of death, I saw people who locked their arms around each other and anyone who needed them to fight in the streets and in the halls of policy-making for the right to live with dignity. 

What I know now is that what is happening is a reminder that the same forces that made anti-gay policies in the ‘70s and ‘80s have been in power too damned long. 

It’s time for those fights to continue because, once again, the risk is the safety and health of individuals within the LGBTQ+ community. 

Because it is Pride month, the act of celebration needs to be the fight. This month is a time for recharge, fellowship, and fun. It is space to organize and prepare for what comes next. Who are the politicians that will come from this community and move this country from those 491 anti-LGBTQ bills to zero?  

I’ve been around long enough to know that this fight won’t be won by hatred and that this community is fighting and will continue to fight to make America move closer to the place it claims to be. 

To get there, I can’t expect the LGBTQ+ community to fight alone because this fight is also the fight against anti-Blackness, anti-immigration, and against any other attempt by the global minority to push those with less power farther to the fringes as they scramble to maintain their hold on dying ideologies. 

In the end, these dinosaurs won’t win. 

But it is June, the month that commemorates the “Stonewall Riots” when police brutality and mistreatment pushed this community, at the site of the Stonewall Inn, to fight back. 

Remember, it is radical to celebrate in the face of adversity, and it is radical to be proud of who you are when you are the most ‘hated.’ And when you’re ready to jump back into the fight, give it everything you’ve got.