Social distancing may have taken away our Parade, civil unrest may have given our quarantine a curfew, but our Pride should be pushing us to do better for ourself and others.
Last year’s Los Angeles Pride Pride was epic! It was the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and for the first time ever, the LA Pride parade was televised and hosted by ABC7. I had just finished filming on the set of Amazon’s hit TV show and movie, Transparent. I was invited to walk with the Transparent contingent at the LA Pride parade and both my spouse and father marched with me. I was bursting at the seams with love and joy. I extended my butterfly wings and soared through the streets and the roaring crowd. I had never felt so proud to be an out and visible transgender woman.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for this year.
Due to the rapid onset of the contagion COVID-19, all social events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. This includes Los Angeles Pride Parade, Trans Pride LA, and possibly WEHO’s annual Halloween Carnival. The moment I heard the news of the cancelation of my favorite events of the year, I felt lost. Everything closed, from Hollywood, to your local gym. Many people were left jobless, and everything stood still, leaving the Walk of Fame a barren wasteland. This left me feeling alone, isolated, and trapped in a room by myself. Where do we go from here? How do we proceed? What do we do with this time we are given?
Having been a shut-in for a few weeks, it was a dreaded day when I had to go to get groceries. Both masked and gloved, I picked out a few vegan items from Follow Your Heart with my head held high and like a brick to a window, it hit me.
Pride was never about a Parade, Pride was never about a riot, it was about change. It was about LGBT people, minorities, POC, and the underprivileged demanding change. No one wanted Compton’s Cafeteria to be destroyed, they just wanted to be treated as equals. No one was anticipating Stonewall to become a riot, they were just tired of being pushed around and harassed by the police. These moments in history seemed perilous, but eventually the smoke and the ashes cleared. It was at this point that people were talking and others started to listen. It was then that people started to collaborate. Collaborations led to new ideas, new allies, networking, creating safety nets, and pushing for equal rights. Everyone was like a piece of a puzzle. The more we centralized, the more we were taken seriously. The more we were taken seriously, the further our cause went. Every person contributed in their own way to promote safety, inclusion, diversity, education, and to push political change.
Los Angeles along with major cities all across America are protesting and rioting. Once again our people are tired of the way citizens, specifically POC, are being treated by the police, the criminal justice system, and economic impacts that effect them. So here we are, pushing back again. Pushing back for change and once again the ashes will settle.
It was just announced that Christopher Street West, the nonprofit that produces the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival in the City of West Hollywood, will host an assembly on June 14, 2020 at 10am. Unlike the Pride Parade it will be a Solidarity Protest March to show support for the protestors who are marching against racial injustice, oppression, and police brutality. The Solidarity March is scheduled to begin at Hollywood and Highland and the march will continue into West Hollywood.
So, the real question at this point is, what could I do to help the current political climate? I am a writer and performer. I can write about my experiences, I can write about change, and I can write to encourage others to find their own strengths to bring about our next evolution as a nation. This is something that I can do for our cause. For you, it could be to use your law degree to push policies that will benefit others. For you, it could be to help spread awareness of the issues that we face, or to volunteer at a local organization, or to push for pronouns to be put in email signatures at your work, or to hang a pride flag on your front porch, or to finally come out to your family.
This month is your Pride month and I am giving you permission to enjoy it by helping anyway that you can. You don’t need a Parade to show the world that you have Pride. You just need to be the change in the world that gave you Pride.