Guest author Jennifer Cook reflects on Pride Month in NYC. You can follow her blog and experience her photography at Jen Cook Yoga.
Pride month might be one of my most favorite times of the year, especially here in New York City. Starting June 1, rainbow flags cascade down the doors and windows of nearly every building, weekends are filled with various events, marches and parties – culminating in a citywide parade the final Sunday of the month. White crosswalks turn into celebratory rainbow crosswalks. Storefronts are covered in brightly colored balloons. Fifth Avenue becomes the city’s largest all-day night club. Couples dance and kiss and cry in front of the Stonewall Inn. Children laugh and march and wave pride flags alongside their parents. The sheer amount of love and joy, in a city that is (let’s be honest) rarely associated with either, is incredible.
Bringing people together
I do not identify as gay, queer or trans, but I do identify as an ally. I think it is this coming together of all ends of the spectrum that make Pride such a magical thing. I truly cannot think of any other time of year or any other event that brings so many different people together. And not out of hatred or spite or fear. It’s out of love. After all, that’s what this is all about right? The opportunity to love whomever, without fear of judgment or discrimination. Perhaps it’s just me, but watching the joy that exudes from people being themselves, being unafraid of being themselves, loving each other, loving everyone – watching this it is almost impossible for me to understand where any opposition to gay rights and marriage equality comes from.
For me, personally, this feels like a basic human right – to be able to love.
I suppose I’m lucky – I have great parents that have always supported this, told me that love is love, and that love is one of the most powerful things in life. It breaks my heart to think that anyone is excluded from the ability to love openly and without fear.
And I know that we have a long way to go.
Although a celebration of all that’s been accomplished, Pride also serves as a reminder of what is still needed to be done. Again, I’m lucky – I live in New York, in a place that has almost always been proudly progressive, amongst others that share the same views – but I know this isn’t the case everywhere. Pride, in all it’s flamboyant, celebratory glory, reminds us that the fight isn’t over, that really, it is just beginning.
So, to the LGBTQ community: we’re with you. We love you. We celebrate Pride and dance and march alongside you to show solidarity. We don our rainbow flags because we’re proud to be next to you. We might not experience the same things that you do, the same challenges that you might face in your daily life, but we feel you. We’re there for you, and we won’t stop fighting for you.