I have mixed feelings about Pride Month, if I'm completely honest. I think it's important to celebrate marginalized identities and provide safe spaces to do so. I think it's important to recognize the past of the queer community and the sheer radical nature of our forebears. I think it's important to remind those who would grind us down that we are here to stay.
But it also feels suffocating in a way. It's a time when a lot of people tend to boil down their identities to their queerness. Which, I mean, I understand--for plenty of folks, it's the one time they can feel safe embracing that part of them. But I've never liked to present myself as just this one thing. Yes, I'm queer, but I'm also a creative and a nerd and all these other labels.
Of course, there's also the issue of a lot of corporations jumping on the bandwagon and throwing rainbows on everything without actually supporting the queer community. And it's the time of year homo- and transphobes crawl out of the woodwork to complain and argue our existence even more often than normal.
There's a pressure--at least one that I perceive--to attend events and slather myself in rainbows, or else I'm not proud of my identity. And, as an introvert with claustrophobia in a an environment that feels unsafe, that's extremely frustrating. Similar to the issue of having few places to socialize outside of queer bars--if it's not your place, you're SoL.
I don't have a better solution to celebrating our identities and our past. But I do want to leave with some encouragement:
This month can be a mess of feelings for a lot of people. But we're going to make it through, y'all. You're going to be okay.
Have you ever noticed how gendered every day things are? I'm not even talking the whole bathroom debacle, but things like toys and food packaging. At the bookstore the other day, I saw a "manmergency kit" advertised for Father's Day (I assume it was a mini shaving kit or something). I'm constantly confronted with "women's X" when there's no reason to specify an audience gender.
I was talking to my therapist this morning about it and realized that so many people don't even think about this sort of thing. Seeing blue and pink candy wrappers is just normal. Of course there would be a distinction between products for men and women--even if the product is exactly the same. And this isn't even delving into the "pink tax," where products marketed to women cost more than products marketed to men.
As someone who doesn't adhere to the gender binary, this is incredibly frustrating. It's everywhere and there's no escaping it. Our society (and our marketing) is exceedingly reliant upon gender and the apparent opposition of "man" and "woman."
Sometimes I wish I could just snap my fingers and erase the binary altogether. But, alas, that is not the magic I work. All I can do is keep working here at Wandering Jotun, keep supporting my other nonbinary and genderqueer friends, and keep sharing my authentic self. Hopefully I can at least make a little change.
Nonir is a queer pagan nerd and writes about various things in those realms.