By: Maddie Maloon, LPC.
Happy Pride Month!
It’s June which means we are currently being bombarded with t-shirts, mugs, candles, door mats, and even toilet seat covers suddenly doused in rainbows and adorned with the words “yas queen!” While all of this is fun and cool, Pride didn’t start out this way.
History of Pride
On June 28, 1969, plainclothes officers in the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar. In New York state, it was illegal to serve alcohol to gay people until 1966, and in 1969 homosexuality was a criminal offense. Police raids on gay establishments were commonplace, as was their unfettered brutality. But on this very early morning at the Stonewall Inn, resistance was alive and spreading.
Patrons fought back against police, led by drag queens and People of Color. Word of the events that morning spread throughout the community, and protests continued into the next week. One year later, on June 28, 1970, the first Pride march took place to commemorate the uprising at the Stonewall Inn.
Pride is a Protest.
It was born out of the struggle for equity in the face of brutality. And while we have made significant strides toward equity in the decades since Stonewall, queer people continue to struggle.
I am a therapist. I treat complex trauma and PTSD. I am a lesbian. Many– in fact, most– of my clients are part of the LGBTQIA+ community because growing up Queer in a heteronormative society is inherently traumatizing. I am witness to the effects of this prejudice every day, and it is always devastating.
But I am also witness to transformation. To healing. To Queer Joy. Pride is a protest, but protest is not limited to the month of June.
Protest is stepping out of the elevator and onto the 7th floor of Skyway.
Protest is waking up in the morning and getting out of bed when your body feels like it weighs a thousand pounds.
Protest is vulnerability in the face of potential pain. It is sitting with the unknown and knowing that you need to.
Over the past month, I’ve been reflecting on my role as a queer therapist. What a privilege it is to exist in this space, in this time, as this person. I do not take lightly the responsibility I get to hold– to help guide other Queer people through their healing process. There is no greater protest I can think of.