IN CELEBRATION OF PRIDE
PRIDE educates, engages, and unites people to support, celebrate and empower the LGBTQ community. SYLK is proud to not only celebrate June PRIDE Month but to support the LGTBQ community everyday with sexual health education and ongoing inclusion. So as we wrap up PRIDE month, we’re honored to feature special guest blogger, Tyler Diaz, Tyler is a native Californian who studied evolutionary psychology at the University of Arizona and obtained his masters in social work from Fordham University. As a social worker, Tyler has dedicated his career to working with LGBTQ youth and young adults, with an intersection in foster youth, young adults in the criminal justice system, domestic violence survivors and immigrant youth. Tyler works to assist his clients in developing insight to their emotional and biological responses to environmental stressors. He specializes in working with youth and young adults living with serious mental illnesses, anxiety, depression and trauma. In addition to his clinical passion, Tyler is a tireless advocate working within the criminal justice, housing and educational systems.
The glittery explosion of pride with all its rainbows, happiness and unity began as a fight; a fight for the most marginalized people within the LGBTQ community. This fight started because trans* women of color were tired of constant abuse, ridicule and shame. We celebrate those who fought for our right to express ourselves and enact our sexual freedom. Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera are queer icons, heroes really. The Stonewall Riots of 1969 were the result of oppression and hiding the things we love most about ourselves. The first gay pride march took place on June 28, 1970 in NYC to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. While we continue this tradition today and celebrate how far we have come, the LGBTQ community continues to fight inequality both outside of our community and within.
The thought of pride as a march rather than a parade is much more cohesive with our history; disrupting the status quo while projecting voices that often went unheard or shouted over (and still do). Pride is still a multisensory celebration; bright colors, engaging conversation, community embracing, stimulating performances, among other things. Pride is loud and disruptive so that it can create visibility and help those that are in need. Pride is loud so that those who have been quiet for too long can finally let out what they have so long held caged. Pride is loud so that inequalities are highlighted with the hope that these differences will be discussed. Pride is loud because we as a LGTBQ community are loud, and it’s time for us to be heard. A pride march is meant to create visibility, however loud, bright, or disruptive it may be. The march is also meant to create a family for those who otherwise do not have one, a shout for those who maybe do not feel that they can and an opportunity tospeak up, speak out, abandoning all preconceived assumptions and judgements.Pride is loud because we as a LGTBQ community are loud, and it’s time for us to be heard. Pride is not just about the right to get married or a march once a year, more than tolerance, it is about our right to exist. We do exist and we will continue to exist, loudly, creatively, intelligently and sexily.
Our intersectionality is the heartbeat of the community; our identities transcend limitations. We are ever evolving, with ongoing introspection and learning. There are many ways you can support the cause and help. The easiest thing you can do is just smile; make someone feel welcome in this dark world. To donate your time and/or money, search for LGBTQ community centers in your area. Be aware of your local Planned Parenthood chapters to become involved in promoting sexual health and safe sex. Keep learning and keep an open mind; just because you don’t understand, doesn’t mean you can’t. When we continue learning together, that’s acceptance.
In celebration of pride and to show your support this month, remember to love yourself; do what feels right for you; be with your community, wave a flag, volunteer at a community center, donate some money to the cause, have some safe sex, and remember the importance of self-care. The most radical thing you can do this pride season is love yourself and let yourself be the most genuine self you can be. Create your own sexual liberation, use safety, create pleasure, don’t kink shame, and most importantly, share your love.
If you want to catch up on some Queer history, check out Gay New York by George Chauncey to enter the world before pride and the brutal policing of the Queer community, Time Square Red Time Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany to understand how our sexuality became taboo and the country policed it through physical space Criminal Intimacy by Regina Kunzel to see how our sexuality and our bodies became illegal
LGBTQ history is long and detailed, influencing much of society as we know it today. Pride has intersectionality that connects us all through beauty and trauma. As the recognition of PRIDE continues to be celebrated this month, let us all pause and reflect on just how far we have come and have restored hope in our future.
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