Sunday, June 5, 2011

You Haven't Lived Until You've Watched a Drag Queen Perform in Downtown Conway

Hey y'all. I hope your summers are off to a great start. And happy pride!

As you (hopefully) know, we celebrate the month of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. Why June, you ask? Contrary to popular belief, it's not because the sweltering heat gives the gay boys an excuse to take their shirts off (I kept my deep v-neck on, because I'm just modest like that). It's because 42 years, June 1969, a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, an underground gay bar in New York during a time when our queer forebears were victims of legal persecution, sparked violent demonstrations that we remember as the Stonewall Riots.

And so every June, we gather together in our towns and cities as a community to express our love, pride, and solidarity as LGBTQ folks and allies. Here in Conway, we've been celebrating Pride for eight years. Our Pride festivities are organized by a Stonewall survivor and his husband, John and Robert from the Pink House, true pillars of the central Arkansas gay community. There's a great crowd of Hendrix kids staying in Conway this summer, and today a bunch of us headed over to the Pink House to march in the parade and join in the festivities. The heat was outrageous, but we didn't really mind. (OK, I minded, but I'm just not used to this kind of heat/humidity!) I made cookies to share with any protesters we ran into (check out these posts on my personal tumblr for more about my decision to greet the protesters with love and compassion), but there weren't too many. Just one family who don't eat sugar but were happy to hand me a pamphlet. They didn't really want to chat, and that's fine. I hope they got felt like they did what they needed to do today.

There were a ton of people there to celebrate, though. It was really heart warming to see all our queer brothers and sisters (and straight allies!) who braved the heinous heat to celebrate who we are as a community. This year in Unity, we'll be exploring a lot more what it means when we call ourselves the/a queer community. For now, in honor of Pride, I'd like to hear from you, my dear Unity members (and friends). What do you celebrate about our community? What do you see in it that makes you proud? I can't entice you with delicious treats over the internet like I can in meetings, but I'm sure I can think of a special reward for any one who answers in the comments section of this blog.

Happy Pride, friends!
In love and solidarity,

1 comment:

  1. Daniel, you are so knowledgeable! I am SO bummed that I did not get to be in Conway to celebrate with you all! For the past couple of Junes I have participated in the AIDS Walk Boston. Sadly I could not go this year due to some family stuff, but I was there in spirit! Here's a little snippet from their website to let you know what it's about:

    Every year since 1986 our community has gathered on the first Sunday in June for AIDS Walk Boston, an annual grassroots community event benefiting AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, New England’s largest and oldest AIDS service organization.

    For twenty-five years, thousands of dedicated participants have raised millions of dollars for AIDS Action’s innovative programs and services that are essential to maintaining the health of individuals living with the disease and preventing the spread of the epidemic. Just as important, the Walk also raises our awareness of the impact HIV/AIDS has on individuals, families and the community at-large, reminding us all that we must work together to stop the spread of HIV.

    Let me just say that I LOVE THIS WALK! My high school's GSA introduced me to the event and then my friends and I continued going after we graduated for several reasons: 1. It is so fun! 2. You meet such amazing people. 3. It is for a great cause. 4. The amount of pride, support, and love at this event will just leave you in awe. I recommend to anyone and everyone that has an AIDS Walk or a similar walk near them to go and join! Even if you only raise $1, every bit counts and the experience itself will blow you away.

    This event makes me proud because it demonstrates how the LGBT and ally communities can together make a huge difference in not just raising money to better and save lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, but to create a sense of empowerment, acceptance, and love for those (as the AIDS Walk Boston emphasizes) "from all walks of life."

    Happy, happy filled with love Pride!!!