Ask Ada: How Do I Celebrate Pride Month If I Feel Like I Don’t Belong?

Welcome to “Ask Ada,” a weekly series in which we answer all those burning questions you’d rather not share aloud. Buckle up for some brutally honest advice! Today, we’ve got some advice just in time for Pride Month!

How do you survive Pride Month when it makes you feel more depressed than happy? I’m queer, but I’ve never felt welcome at Pride.

Signed,

Changeling

Hi Changeling,

I don’t say this often, but if you are unwelcome at Pride, then f*ck Pride.

Seriously, f*ck Pride, and f*ck anybody who makes you feel less than for not fitting into a neat, little “queer” box. Love is universal, and acceptance is year-round. If someone excludes you from an event that is supposed to be about both love and acceptance, then that someone is an asshole, plain and simple.

Just because someone is part of a group that’s been demonised and hurt in the past doesn’t mean that they are immune to anger or prejudice. The LGBTQ+ community is no exception – there’s always some jackass who will say you’re “too femme,” “too butch,” “too trans*,” that you have “too much passing privilege,” or that you straight-up don’t exist.

When other members of the LGBTQ+ community refuse to accept how you identify or present, you have every right to feel alone. Here you are, hoping that you can find a community that will accept you for who you are and truly make you one of their own, and then they exclude you for not conforming enough. That’s enough to make anyone depressed.

If you are not already doing so, Changeling, I suggest finding somewhere to volunteer this month. I know, in this column, I often recommend volunteering, and maybe you don’t have that much time to try it. Still, I urge you to consider it.

Volunteering lets you lean into your skills instead of clique politics, which means that you will have a chance to connect with other like-minded people over something concrete and real. Also, it’ll help you remember the history behind Pride Month, which will remind you why it’s important to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community all year round.

In the West, it’s easy to think that June is just one giant rainbow party.

It’s easy to assume that Pride is about shocking the “normies,” taking to the streets, and discriminating against members of our own community for not being queer enough. We often forget that there are still places in this world where LGBTQ+ discrimination is legal, that we can be denied work, homes, and rights because of who we are.

As we break out our Pride flags and rainbow gear, we mustn’t forget the fact that that gender reassignment is not readily available to everybody, that there are countries where we can be imprisoned and even killed for being queer. Even in progressive places like the States and the European Union, legislators enact laws that penalize us, and push back against our human rights.

Now, more than ever, we need to hold each other close and lead with love.

So do this, Changeling: Forget about the assholes who are more interested in gatekeeping their precious parties, and focus on those who need your help the most. Seek out people who care about inclusion and human rights. These are your people. This is your tribe. These are the ones who will welcome you with open arms and make you feel that you are truly a part of an understanding community.

Lead with love,

Ada

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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