What Pride Means to Me by Peyton Michelle

Peyton Michelle is Secretary of the Board of Directors of Louisiana Trans Advocates and serves as the Lafayette Chapter Leader.

Hey folks! I hope you all are having a great Pride month! I wanted to make this post to really talk about what Pride means to me and to spread some love in our community.

Hopefully we all know Pride was sparked by the Stonewall Riot, which happened in 1969, which just so happens to be 50 years ago. It has definitely been a journey since then.

Read more about the history of LGBTQ Pride:
The Rainbow Means Never Again Another Flood of Hate - Bayou Brief
Marsha Johnson and the Stonewall Riots - USA Today
Activist Miss Major Recounts the First Night of the Stonewall Riots - Out Magazine

Same sex marriages became legal federally in 2015. But we still aren’t protected under state law from discrimination, and that’s not okay! Here in Louisiana, only a few cities even offer LGBTQ people protections. New Orleans and Shreveport have comprehensive protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Alexandria, Grambling, and Jefferson Parish have limited protections in one or more areas. For example, Jefferson Parish has housing protections, but that’s it. And Grambling has protections in public employment and public facilities, but that’s it. We still have a long way to go to be protected statewide and federally, and that’s why Pride is so important. It’s a yearly reminder that we need to stand up for our rights, because there are people like the Louisiana Family Forum and other organizations that are actively working to take our rights away. We can’t let them win, so we must stand up for ourselves. We’re all in this fight together, and we all must continue until we are all equal under the law.

So you see why Pride is such an important part of our queer history, and why we can’t stop fighting for our rights. I’d also like to bring up how corporations around the world are, in a way, stealing Pride from us. Not literally, of course, but it’s important to note that not all of those corporations are actively helping us fight our fight, in fact, some are even donating money to organizations that are actively working against us. However, that doesn’t stop them from branding Pride floats or parades and selling us and our allies a plethora of different rainbow memorabilia. This is definitely not okay with me, so I encourage you all to do a little research on who you’re supporting, and where you’re spending your money. Maybe even find a queer artist / creator that you could support instead! I’d also like to mention, not all corporations supporting Pride are bad, just to do your research!  

I want to use Pride month as a reminder to everyone that we have to stand up for our rights. And I know, it can definitely be scary to do so with anxiety and whatnot, but we are the only people that will put in the effort to stand up for us. Not even all of us can stand up for us, at risk of losing their job, home, family, etc. So for those of us that can, we really need to use that privilege to do what we need to do. PLEASE make sure you’re voting, calling your representatives, meeting with them, whatever you need to do to show them we are people and we deserve rights! Click here to join our Trans Action Team so you know when we need you to do these things.

With that said, we can’t neglect our own community either! So don’t be afraid! Whether that be showing up to local meetings, volunteering, giving people someone to talk to, supporting queer creators by buying their creations, donating your old clothes to people that could use them, whatever! There are tons of ways! Today, I challenge anyone that reads this to reach out to someone they’ve been wanting to befriend, whether that be someone you’ve met at a meeting, Pride, or here in the group! Reach out, maybe even to people outside of your community, like if you are white or a binary trans person, maybe reach out to some nonbinary folks, or trans people of color! Send them a message asking how their week is going or ask how they’re doing. Create connections. Create relationships. Be support for others, and you’ll create a support system for yourself! Learn to understand people different from you. Having a community is EMPOWERING. Intersectionality is POWERFUL. The discrimination you face may not be the same that someone else is facing. We have to stand together and advocate for each other, or else we won’t be strong enough to move our state forward. There are too few of us to allow differences to divide us. Show up for people in the trans/nonbinary community who are facing other forms of discrimination, like sexism, racism, poverty, and more. We all know the world can be a negative place, and it can definitely suck, but if we’re in it together, hopefully it’ll suck less. Let’s fight the hate with love.

I’d like to thank everyone for taking their time to read this. I really hope this inspires you all to stand up for yourselves and to support one another. I hope you all are making the best out of your Pride month, even through rough times. I love you all 💖

We May Encounter Many Defeats But We Must Not Be Defeated.
— Maya Angelou
Peyton Theriot