Celebrate Your Pride, 365 Days a Year!

June 1, 2023

Dear Network Members,

First and foremost, HAPPY PRIDE!

These last few weeks we have seen how corporations ‘rainbow’ themselves during Pride Month to capitalize on our liberties and identities. We have also seen how these same corporations backtrack when anti-LGBTQ folx cause a ruckus and force the hand of these businesses such as the LA Dodgers, Target, Budlight, etc., to step back their support of our community and “move us to the back”.  These corporations are experiencing the exact same attacks we have been experiencing for decades, but are unable to handle it while we are expected to continue to experience threats against us as a part of our everyday life.

In all of my years in advocacy, I had learned to silo my various identities. When I’m with my Latinx crowd, I’m Latinx. When I’m with my native or two spirit crowd, I’m native/two spirit. When I’m with my queens, I’m a member of the LGBTQ community.

Siloing myself into a demographic and connecting on that one level of my identity, I did not realize that it was hurting me and the advocacy that I was engaging in. You see, when we start to separate who we are into these boxes, we aren’t healing the whole person. We are healing the one part we are paying attention to, not realizing that by ignoring the other parts of ourselves we end up more confused, more hurt, more anxious, and more frustrated with ourselves. And I am watching this play out across our community again with these corporations.

We focus so much on the acronym LGBTQ, as does the many legislatures who are introducing anti-lgbtq bills, but we forget that within that acronym are human beings with rich cultures and history. We forget how pre-colonization our community was celebrated in our original tribes. Whether our ancestry is from turtle island, India, Africa, Asia, the Danes or Scots, or even Greek and Romani….so much of who we are has been erased and suppressed, and because of that, we are seen as only one-dimensional.

It is now in 2023. We are done hiding. When we accept and love who we are as a Black trans woman, or as a Native lesbian, or bisexual latinx man, no one can take away our self-worth. No one can take away our inner dragon, our culture, our heritage, our lover or our health. Advocacy is only successful when we view others in the same lens that we view ourselves.

So this Pride month, don’t let people silo you into believing you are only a LGBTQ individual who deserves to be pushed to the back of the store. Don’t let these corporations ‘celebrate’ you for only 30 days. You deserve to be celebrated and loved every day of the year as your whole and true authentic self.

In Solidarity,

Dannie Cesena