While the world in 2020 continues to be an increasingly wild place to live, we simply could not miss the chance to acknowledge one of my very favorite month’s of the year—PRIDE. Long before I was an APW staffer, I was an avid reader—and as long as I’ve been a part of the community here and the wedding industry at large, I’ve had deep gratitude for Meg and APW’s focus on diversity and inclusion. While the wedding industry has been slowly (and I mean sloooowly) waking up and doing better, and is currently in a big awakening as the #blacklivesmatter movement takes a (very important and needed) front seat, it just hasn’t always been the most welcoming place for all folx. When I first fell in love with all things wedding all those years ago, I remember feeling wildly uncomfortable with the blonde, Barbie-esque, hetero-centric energy that filled up the blogs. At APW, I found solitude and comfort in the variety of weddings and humans depicted.
So, in the midst of a pandemic and in the heart of one of the most important civil rights movements any of us will ever bear witness to, we are here to also celebrate all that is Pride. Let’s celebrate it a little differently than usual. But, let’s celebrate it nonetheless. Sally Kohn wrote a great piece titled ‘Why I’m Proud That Pride Is Canceled,’ and said it well:
“At this moment, we show our pride by staying home, staying safe, and protecting others. Unless, of course, you’re leaving your house to march in a Black Lives Matter demonstration, which is also taking a stand to protect lives. It’s fitting that racial justice protests have sparked during Pride Month; the LGBTQ movement owes a massive debt to the civil rights and Black Liberation movements that came before, the intersections of which are still the most radical and visionary parts of our movements today.
Yes, I’ll miss the floats and the tea dances and viewing parties of friends crowded together on streets and balconies celebrating, publicly, the full spectrum of our queerness. But even more, I would miss the friends and strangers, queer and nonqueer, whose lives would be threatened or ended if pride parades happened this year.”
If I had to describe what Pride means to me, and I think I can speak for APW when I say this, it is a moment to honor the past, a chance to celebrate the present, and an energetic reminder to continue the fight until we are all equal. I clearly recall the warm-fuzzy feelings I would get when straight folx would take a stand along the lines of ‘I’m not getting married until everyone can get married.’ (Note: I was a young queer person and hadn’t quite unpacked my queerness yet, but knew in my gut how powerful that statement was coming from folks who had the rights and the power.) It’s a moment to reflect on the people who’ve come before us, like the black trans womxn who fought for our rights at Stonewall. I have vivid memories of 2011 when President Obama declared DOMA unconstitutional and New York legalized gay marriage in 2011 (or, ya know, ‘marriage’ as it is), and APW threw a huge celebration (YAY New York!), and of that fateful day in June 2015 when SCOTUS ruled that marriage same-sex marriage was legal nationwide. And because I’m a sucker for a good cry, here’s some of the wording from that decision:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
So, APW, let’s celebrate Pride together this week. Let’s celebrate marriage equality and the legal right to marry whoever the hell you want. Let’s celebrate last week’s Supreme Court ruling to protect LGBTQ workers. Let’s remember that this is also a celebration and a huge collective ‘thank you’ to the folx that fought the good fight before us—a specific thank you to Marsha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera and so many others. Let’s celebrate (a little late) Loving Day, and the legal right to again… marry whoever the hell you want. We are cueing the confetti for Pride here at APW, but also we’re going to keep fighting the good fights that are so important. Keep demanding justice for black lives, and brown lives. Keep loving each other up. Keep going.