Since The 19th launched, we have covered a record amount of anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ+ bills moving through statehouses. We’ve also diligently reported on what presidential administrations are doing — or could do — to secure protections for LGBTQ+ Americans.
But amid all of that, we’ve also reported on the joyful moments, both small and big, that queer people experience.
We asked our staff where they found joy this Pride season. Some had plans hampered by COVID or the Supreme Court. Others felt that Pride looked pretty different from previous years. But here is what centered and comforted The 19th’s staff during this Pride month.
For me, Pride used to be people flooding the streets, club music on a June Sunday and rainbow floats. Today, now that I am older, it looks like making ice cream in my partner’s kitchen with her kids on a Wednesday night and teaching them how to whistle. I don’t think a young queer me could have imagined such a full or sweet life. I think at the end of the day, that’s my queer joy. — Kate Sosin
It took me seven whole seasons to get into RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I’m glad I got there. No other show has helped drag me from my darkest pits. While its international and mainstream expansion these past few years has been jarring, it means I can have Drag Race every single month from somewhere in the world whenever I need it — and gosh have we needed it. This current all-winners All Stars season is not disappointing, but halfway through I still can’t pick a favorite. But if I must: it’s surely a five-way tie between Jaida, Raja, Jinkx, Yvie and Shea. — Jayo Miko Macasaquit
- Read More From Our Staff:
I picked up “The Witch King” by H. E. Edgmon, the first in a YA series about a trans witch tasked with ruling the Fae kingdom that rejected him as a child. I’ve nearly finished the 400-page book after five days, because it’s been so delightful and healing to read. As a kid, I read hundreds of fantasy books, looking for escapism in adventures and horror. Characters like me weren’t in those books, which doubled as escape hatches to better worlds, and I never questioned it. Now, returning to a world of dragons, fairies and witches through the eyes of a trans kid has opened a door for me that I’d forgotten I was still looking for. — Orion Rummler
I’ve had COVID or COVID-related problems for almost the entire month of June, so I haven’t done much in a concrete way to celebrate Pride. I had to skip out on the parade, parties and seeing friends because I didn’t want to get anyone else sick. Instead, I’ve been focusing on quieter expressions of queer joy, like re-watching “Our Flag Means Death,” a history-inspired romantic comedy about pirates. I’ve also been reading more poetry — I just finished Meg Day’s “Last Psalm at Sea Level.” — Sara Luterman
- More LGBTQ+ coverage
- As Pride month closes, LGBTQ+ advocates are split on whether Biden is doing enough to protect the community
- These companies publicly oppose anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Some also fund lawmakers who sponsor them.
- How did trans people become a GOP target? Experts say it’s all about keeping evangelicals voting
Every summer, my friends and I spend our days along Chicago’s lakefront. We always meet at the same spot: by the green person statue off Belmont Avenue. What we didn’t know was that this spot is also the historic Belmont Rocks, an area where LGBTQ+ people gathered between the 1960s and 1990s. It was a place of refuge during a time when it was a lot more dangerous to be openly queer (and when there were far fewer queer spaces). Many who gathered there died during the AIDS epidemic.
This summer, the AIDS Garden Chicago opened at this spot. The green statue (which is a self-portrait of activist Keith Haring) is the gardens’ centerpiece, honoring those lost to AIDS and those who fight against it today. This month as I spend time along the lakefront and in the garden, I’m thinking about the LGBTQ+ people who came before me, who put in the work to make sure there were more spaces than just a hidden area along the lakefront to find queer community. — Marissa Nelson
This year was the first year my 6-year-old truly understood what Pride month means and stands for. It was so joyful to watch her pick out a matching rainbow dress and shorts for Pride Day at her summer camp, to put rainbow streaks in her curls with hair chalk, and to come home marching around our house waving Pride flags. There was nothing better than hearing her tell me, over and over, that love is love is love. — Emily Ramshaw
Queer joy for me this challenging year looks like dancing in the streets. Hands and red solo cup in the air, assets shaking, soaking in the joyous soundtracks provided by Pride parade floats, passing cars or my friends’ phones. After two years filled with scenes of fear, protest and heartache, I’m grateful to Pride — and Queen Beyoncé and Lizzo — for bringing the dance floor back to these streets. Dancing isn’t a cure-all, but it certainly is healing. — Karen Hawkins
I kept saying that I was convinced Beyoncé timed the release of her new single “Break My Soul,” a club bop if there ever was one, to Houston Pride. She always knows how to show up for the home team. My plans to attend Houston Pride were scuttled by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, but I did play that song during work breaks. The dancing was in my kitchen rather than a sweaty floor, but it was still cathartic. — Abby Johnston
This Pride month has been brutal between preparing for the Dobbs verdict and a cross-country move. There has been no time for scheduled celebration in my life. I find joy in the small moments of my relationship, in pausing to offer gratitude for the ordinary. The TikToks my partner sends me to make me laugh; their hand in mine when we walk down the street; puzzling over the crossword together each day. I could not have dreamed of this life, this love, when I was younger. My celebration is letting that magnitude hit me. — Jasmine Mithani