Pride month is here! Pride is the celebration of the progress the Queer and Trans* community has made thus far to be seen as human and equal. It is the remembrance of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.
This year, Pride is just as important as it was in 1969. Human rights that have been given to the Queer and Trans* communities are being taken away through policy at the State level. Trans* healthcare is at risk. The community is being targeted at alarming rates.
When asked to write a blog post about Pride, the first thing that came to mind was the power of personal narratives. It is easy to “other” the Queer and Trans* community when personal narratives are taken away, and as MFTs, we must work together to protect, advocate, and support the community during Pride and onward.
Below are personal reflections from QTAN leadership on what Pride means to them:
“I remember my first Pride as if it were yesterday! Emerging from the tube in London to see hundreds and hundreds of out and proud LGBTQIA2S+ people was a very powerful experience. One of my biggest fears, when I came out for the first time 25+ years ago, was losing family, friends and community but here I was, at Pride, and potential new friends, family and community were all around me. For me Pride means showing the world that we are not afraid and showing each other that we are not alone. It’s a time to be visible, if we can, and loud in our demand for respect and not merely tolerance or acceptance. I also brought my oldest child to Pride since she was 8 months old (she is nearly 20 years old now) and, for us, it was also a way to show her that she was not alone, that many trans, queer, and polyam families exist and that families come in all sorts of configurations! As long as LGBTQIA2S+ people are not viewed as full citizens everywhere, we will need Pride to remember that seeking our rights started with a riot led by wonderful trans feminine people of color who were no longer willing to put up with violence and oppression. I believe that right now we need Pride more than ever. Happy Pride! We’re here, we’re queer!”
Dr. Alex Iantaffi, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor
QTAN Past Chair
“Pride for me is about the freedom to celebrate my family. Living in a relatively rural area of Florida, especially now, comes with a lot of fear. There is pressure to conform to conservative expectations of family and to hide the parts of me and my family that don’t fit. Pride is a time when I can be visibly in community with others who share similar experiences, values, and queer joy. As a therapist who works primarily with transgender people in Florida, Pride this year also comes with an extra powerful sense of saying, “We are here and will not be erased.”
Dr. Amanda Veldorale-Griffin, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor
QTAN Interim Chair-Elect
“The first Pride celebration I went to was in Chicago, in 1993, with two college friends: a gay man and a straight woman. Coming from Southern Indiana, I had never been around so many queer people in my life. What I remember most strongly, 30 years later, is how exciting it was to see men and women comfortable enough to openly kiss and hold hands - and how frustrating it was when my friends told me later ‘didn’t you notice those women wanting to flirt with you?’ Because I hadn’t. I’d never been around openly queer women to learn how to flirt, and it was a long time before I would have much opportunity to figure it out for myself. But I found ways to go to Pride wherever I lived after that. Before queer relationships on TV or in mainstream movies, before it was normal for celebrities and politicians to come out, Pride was the one place I could be sure I’d find queer people, where I could see queer people experiencing freedom and love and family and resistance and JOY. Pride has never been perfect (in so many ways) but as it’s welcomed the ‘BTQ+’ communities more openly, as the white cis gay and lesbian mainstream has started to recognize the need to be more inclusive of BIPOC people and disabled people and diverse bodies and people in recovery and the very young and very old, it has continued to serve as a beacon for other queer people saying ‘come here and find us.’ Pride Month says, you are not alone. Pride Month says, we are a part of your community too. Pride Month says, we will not hide in fear or apologize that we exist, we will not go back into the closet for your comfort or let you shut the closet door on others like us. Pride Month says, ‘we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!’”
Dr. Sheila Addison, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor
QTAN Newsletter Editor & Education Director
“To me, as a queer and trans ally, pride represents love and humility. Pride represents love because it celebrates the existence of so many of my loved ones. I have watched two of my best friends grow into being more of themselves because of pride. The intimacy of knowing and accepting the full spectrum of a person you love is what I celebrate with pride. Second, pride represents humility. As a cisgender, heterosexual person, I underestimated how much queerness could enhance my own experience of the world. By learning from queer and trans people, I have learned to accept a more authentic version of myself. To actualize the existence of queer and trans people is to expand what it means to be human. I am constantly humbled by the resilience, beauty, and clarity that pride brings to the world. Pride is so much to so many folks and it excites me to continue to learn through the experiences of others.”
Micah Brown, M.S., LMFT
“Pride, for me, is about freedom, authenticity, and community. There is nothing more empowering than the freedom to be authentically you in a community of other beautiful people. I came out as an adult and remember being aware that I was finally living as truthfully as possible. I had suppressed parts of myself that didn’t feel “normal” up until that point just to fit in with the crowd. I attended my first Pride festival in Detroit the year after I came out and immediately fell in love with the welcoming, unique, intersectional, and celebratory environment. It was transformative. Ever since, I have aimed to keep that same mindset in every interaction to facilitate freedom, authenticity, and community among every person I interact with.”
Dr. Mary R. Nedela, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor
"For me, Pride allows me to be authentic. Growing up in rural Appalachian Georgia, I never imagined the ability to be openly queer. Growing up in the 90s and being thrown into the scare tactics used against the Queer community during the HIV/AIDs epidemic made showing my authentic self even more of a fear. Pride is a reminder that I can be authentically queer. Authentically me. I love being able to model that as a therapist for my clients. Pride reminds me of those who fought before me and the fight we are still in to remain seen, heard, and understood as humans.
Keep Pride in mind this June as you work with clients, supervise students, and connect with colleagues. Stay informed about legislation that is being proposed in your state. Get involved with QTAN. Connect with the AAMFT Family Team. Advocate for the community to continue progress toward equality and maintain equality. We need ally support. We need all voices."
Dr. M. Evan Thomas, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor