We Don’t Have to Explain Ourselves

During Pride it feels like our turn to be “normal,” to celebrate this controversial thing that we are. This thing that perhaps has come to define us, not because it’s all that we are, but because it’s all that the world sees when they look at us.

Every year when June approaches I feel my excitement building.

The days are getting longer and warmer. Purple wildflowers pop up along the roadside. Summer is close. Pride month is coming. It feels like a beginning.

The specifics of the Pride events themselves have become something of an afterthought to me. Parties on the pier and boozy brunches in my twenties eventually gave way to family picnics and kid-friendly parades, and I’m okay with the evolution of my Pride celebrations- although I do intend to bring back a little grown-up fun this year.

Whether I’m making out with my wife on West Village corners or dressing our kids up in rainbows, it’s the overall spectacle that I look forward to each year. I love the camaraderie of Pride. I love the fleeting feeling that right here, right now, our queerness is cool. We are celebrated for being exactly who we are. We belong. There’s an intimacy to pride celebrations, one in which it feels safe to be seen.

We all know the history by now: Pride began as a protest. 

So why does it continue? Despite what many may think, it’s not just to piss off bigots for an entire month of the year, although for me, that’s a huge benefit.

Queer people and couples spend so much time talking around our partnerships or our living situation, and often the very details of who we are. Even those of us who live openly are regularly faced with a barrage of situations in which we have to repeatedly come out, provide teachable moments, or hide something to avoid judgment or an awkward silence. Pride is our chance to feel like we don’t have to explain ourselves.

During Pride it feels like our turn to be “normal,” to celebrate this controversial thing that we are.

This thing that perhaps has come to define us, not because it’s all that we are, but because it’s all that the world sees when they look at us.

So what am I looking forward to this year? 

I’m looking forward to celebrating with family and friends. I’m looking forward to spending my money on queer brands and fundraising for organizations that fight for the rights of queer people. Also, I get Pride nails every June. I proudly walk into my local nail salon and request a neon rainbow manicure. They inevitably ask me why, and then charge me extra, and I feel so very happy when I leave.

The rest of the Pink Robin team have their own favorite Pride celebrations. Amanda, our co-founder and COO loves parades, queens, and seeing flags in local businesses showing their support for the queer community. “It feels like everyone comes out to support the queers in the street, like we are living out the history of the queer movement every year.”

Kristina, our Head of Brand Strategy, loves the abundant joy of seeing people let go and lean into their authentic selves. “The energy that is felt throughout the city is magnetic. Everybody joins together and celebrates. It is rather beautiful.”

I think our co-founder and CEO Erica does a great job evoking the essence of Pride, so we’ll close with her words:

I love the feeling of joy and power, of being surrounded by community at pride events. I love the freedom of expression–standing next to queens, harnesses, 3″ shorts, net shirts and kids in rainbow hats all in the same space–where all the weird and unacceptable becomes ubiquitous and normal, if only for a day. I love the resonance of the crowd, with Lady Gaga beats in the distance and ‘yass gurl,’ snapping fingers and thwaps of paper accordion fans. I love the feeling of owning all of our stereotypes, with butch dykes on bikes with shaved heads and leather vests. And boys in heels, with tight abs and angel wings getting applauded by men with mustaches and aviators. I love the feeling of blending in–for once–unbothered by curious bystanders, because in this crowd, I’m invisible. 

I love making friends with strangers and sharing shade and drinks and hugs that leave trails of glitter. OMG I love the Glitter!! I love the families. I cry every time I see a parent with a sign, walking beside their queer kid, so full of protection and pride. I love that all of these things exist in one space, in different cities and countries and small towns with that feeling, that hard to explain feeling I still get. Every. Single. Pride. When we build this temporary commonwealth with unspoken rules of togetherness and love, a governing body of diversity, patience, freedom and support. Maybe it’s not a feeling, it’s a vibe.

Hey there. Laura Leigh here. I’m a wife, writer, mama, small business owner, podcast host, and the Head of Content here at Pink Robin.

I love supporting the queer community and bringing shared experiences to life.

If you have a story to tell, I’m here for it.

lauraleigh@pinkrobinshop.com

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