"They are them, & they are perfect."

NYC is unlike anywhere I've ever been. Celebrating with so many out and proud people was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. I was star struck, danced my soul out alongside spectacular human beings, explored so little and was captivated with every bit. I stood where icons have stood, where our riot started - it's overwhelming.

As beautiful as pride is, it's prominent that our community is icy and unkind as it is warm and wondrous. Throughout multiple events you can clearly see the prominence of the fit white gays being the majority and poster children for the community. It's unfortunate experiencing the lack of visibility, coming out to an event to have your demographics held against you.

I attended Papi Juice, an event in Brooklyn, one of the few centering queer and trans people of color. Their values of ensuring kindness is maintained and being mindful of your presence resonated throughout the space. It felt so much easier to breathe there.

Indya Moore hosted, spoke, inspired, and took the time to remind us we need to protect our community, we need to protect our black trans women. Moments like those, listening to such a prominent voice in our community today make us take a moment to recognize our reality in the midst of all the music and glamour and then continuing to raise our hope, that is where I draw my inspiration.

Speaking with others who feel the invisibility, it's gut wrenching to recognize the lack of wisdom, the lack of heritage. We were not taught, raised, or guided by our elders, and it shows. It's painful to acknowledge that we continue to allow the hurt become the targeted and the invisibility spread. But acknowledgement is the first step.

We are and always have been targeted, marginalized as a whole across the globe, yet here we are holding superficial reservations. We may have celebrated World Pride, honored Stonewall for its 50th Anniversary, but truly we're still so far from where we need to be.  Writing this took time to process, various emotions to meditate on, and tears to let out before I could finish. Thank you for reading.  

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Finally, on a personal note to some of the poster children. I apologize for the unkindness passed on to you. I apologize your unhealthy coping mechanisms are idolized. I apologize you were taught 'catty' is a personality trait. I apologize for your hurt, but I empathize, I want to help heal, and "these fucking twinks that think they're hot" only hope you know how loved you are.

Pride.

Today, I turn 27 & I have to share what today & what Pride means to me.

I am an uncloseted gay cisgender man, serving as an Officer in the US Air Force, working as an ICU Nurse, living 2,000 miles from my hometown.

I live unafraid, unapologetic, & I have to recognize my privilege - the family I was born into, the field of work I’m in, the city I was raised. I am a culmination of my upbringing, of all the support I’ve ever received. I live a privileged life, but this doesn’t make me naïve. I live with awareness, with the history of my community ingrained within me. I live knowing Stonewall, remembering Matthew Shepard, not forgetting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” recognizing my ability to marry openly, repeating the names from Pulse.

June is such a powerful month & like each of our coming out stories, Pride is unique to every one of us. This year I’m traveling to New York for the first time to celebrate & march my first pride on the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. I’ll march in a celebration, aware that it didn’t start like this, & understanding we still have to.

I’ll march with my parents who unconditionally love me, with my sister who has always been my best friend, with my family who has shown unyielding support, & with the friendships I’ve made that continue to strengthen over time.

Today, I thank & celebrate you because this year I’ll be marching with every single one of you reading this.
Because I realize & know, that I only live this vibrantly because of you.

“I’m marching for that part of me that was once too afraid to march and for all the people who can’t march, the people living lives like I did. Today, I march to remember that I’m not just a me. I’m also a we. And we march with pride.” — Nomi Marks

Refraction.

June is such a powerful month within the year. The spring maiden is thriving after bringing the most luscious change of the year awaiting to transition. It resonates the anthem of those who define themselves by defiance, & they hold it with Pride. It is my birth month, charting my stars, aligning me a Gemini Sun, Rising Gemini, & Sagittarius Moon.

I can hold nothing but gratitude, & now, it’s time to reflect.

The universe willed me my first choice in moving to the east coast this year, beginning my work within the unit I love the most, fostering new friendships, experiencing a different norm, cultivating new relationships in many unique forms, & most importantly forcing change, testing my resilience.

Every aspect in my life that has changed, I’ve adapted to. In each, I utilized someone close to me to develop. I think this is all I have in me for now.

Further updates are to come, I’m traveling to New York for World Pride at the end of this month, tomorrow I turn 27, & immediately as this month comes to a close I’ll be traveling home to see my family.