"My girlfriend and I had both planned to go to pride in Orlando... she's still dead set on it, but I'm scared. I just graduated and she's just gotten into medschool... I love my community and am proud, but with everything that's happening I'm scared."
-Question Submitted by Anonymous
Hi there, Anonymous.
A few days ago, a friend of mine reached out to see if Everyone Is Gay had any specific resources that she might offer to people who were trying to navigate through the days after Orlando… and I couldn’t find anything that I felt would connect us properly. How could I find something that would connect us properly? As a community – as communities – so much of this is uncharted territory.
In the past week, my thoughts have been wrapped tightly around my own sadness and fear, the sadness and fear of the LGBTQ community as a whole, and the devastation faced by the LGBTQ Latinx community, specifically. I’ve been more silent than usual here on Everyone Is Gay and across my personal social media accounts, because I haven’t known how to speak, what to say, how to engage.
Today, though, I am going to start talking a bit more – and I am beginning with your question because it is one that I am also wrestling with, directly.
First: There is nothing wrong with feeling scared.
I want to repeat this, Anonymous: There is nothing wrong with feeling scared.
I have always struggled with my own personal fears of being in large groups; a fear that was compounded when a vendor was shot just about five feet away from the booth that Dannielle and I worked at San Francisco Pride in 2013. After that incident, it was months before I could go to music shows or other large gatherings without having my back against a wall and knowing where the exits were. I also lived in NYC when 9/11 happened, which forever altered my own feeling of safety riding mass transit, working in city buildings, and honestly, just living. There were events I didn’t go to in the aftermath of both of those experiences because I was afraid; there were times when I had to get off the subway and take a walk before getting back on and completing my ride.
I don’t mean to conflate any of these experiences, because they are distinct in so many ways; but the one thing they share in common is that they made me feel unsafe in spaces where large groups gathered. That is a part of how I am feeling after Orlando, too, just like you. That fear is weighted differently this year as it intersects with my identity as a bisexual, queer woman who has always aimed to speak as loud as possible about my identity.
I will be working at NYC Pride this year. I will have a booth down where the parade empties out in the West Village where my interns and I will let people know about the resources that Everyone Is Gay has to offer, where people will come to buy themselves hats and shirts that say Everyone Is Gay, and where – as happens each year – many people will come to say hi to me, personally, and tell me how our work helped them get through a break-up, tackle a coming out experience, or find a better understanding of their identity. It’s always a powerful experience, and an important one, and one of many powerful ways that pride celebrations allow us to come together.
I will also be feeling scared while I am down there. I am not sure how scared I will feel or how it will manifest, and I won’t really know until I am there this Sunday, surrounded by so many of your beautiful faces. I also know that many of you will be feeling similar things, and that some of you won’t feel safe enough to attend. That is a sad reality, because LGBTQ people deserve to have spaces where they do not have to feel scared to be who they are… and those spaces are few and far between.
I have had many conversations with those close to me, and with myself, about my own relationship to this year’s pride celebrations, and to gauge my own needs around self-care and wellbeing. I’ve spent that time doing that work so that I could figure out my personal best path forward. For me, that path leads to standing next to those I love, and celebrating who I am amidst the power of that shared space and presence. But that is my path, Anonymous, and the only way to find yours is to have those conversations with those you love, and with yourself. It is okay if you can’t make it out this year. It is okay if you want to talk through things that will make you feel more safe if you do make it out this year.
One thing I can promise is to stand that much taller for you this Sunday – and for (and with) all of you who are also feeling scared and unsure.
I said this the day after Orlando, and I will repeat it here again: If you’re out there, also shakily trying to put one foot in front of the other, you’re not alone. We wobble together.
We can only take these things one moment at a time. We will all continue working to hold each other up, and that includes compassion and understanding for how you, personally, navigate your grief and your fear.
“Hi! Over the past couple of years I’ve really come out of my shell. I’ve changed my fashion, come out to my friends and family, etc. Something that still bothers me is that I’ve never been on a date before. I just turned 21 and it’s starting to really bug me. I don’t know how to get out there and meet people, and now I’m concerned that my total lack of experience is going to bother people. There’s tons of cute girls out there but I don’t know how to talk to them! Any advice?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I THINK YOU SHOULD USE PRIDE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. June is pride month in so many places and there will be events, fundraisers, street fairs, shows, etc., for all the queers!
If you don’t feel comfortable in a party environment, contact the local LGTBQ center (if there isn’t one in your city, try the closest big city you can find) and see if they need any help this month! Sometimes people will need help for one day, or two nights, or just one week and they’re calling on their friends, family, and coworkers to do their bidding. They’d be stoked to have someone like you who is trying to get out there and meet people.
ALSO, you can come up with a game for yourself called “meet 15 cuties today” and literally walk up to cute girls and say, “Hi, I’m trying to meet at least 15 cuties today and I was wondering if you’d like to be one of them?” Some people will be like ‘haha no,’ but GUESS WHAT?! You will probably never see them again, so who cares, they were just very good practice. AND ON TOP OF THAT. Some people will think it’s so sweet and say yes immediately, no hesitation, and will be so honored to have been a part of your game.
OOOORRR You can say Dannielle from EveryoneIsGay.com specifically requested that you ask a stranger to go on a date with you. If that doesn’t work, you can just blame me forever.
I support all of these ideas, and I want to say two more things:
FIRST: Your lack of experience is not going to be a turn-off to people who you’d want to date, so take all those fears, pack them in a little satchel, and toss them over your shoulder into the river. I assume you are near a river. Seriously, if I met someone today who I liked a ton and they had never dated anyone I would be like COOL GREAT STORY, ANYWAY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE OUT? (Spoiler: I probably wouldn’t say that bc I am married but you get my point.) If they judge you bc you’ve dated less than them, they can go right in that river-bound satchel, too.
SECOND: If you are afraid to talk with your mouth right away, use dating apps! Then you get to develop the initial stages of #connection over the world wide web and you can work up the courage to type out “Do you want to meet up next week for a coffee?” and hit send and then sit in the dark looking like this:
…until they reply “YES,” and you look like this:
*** Hi! Our advice is always free for all to read & watch. Help us keep this gay ship chuggin’ by donating as little as $1/month over here on Patreon. xo
This pride, why not celebrate with your most loved family member: your cat!!! We all know how agreeable cats are to most anything, so here are eight great ways to have the best pride of you life with your feline.
1. Confetti gun. Cats love when you shoot off confetti in their presence (spoiler: no they don’t)
2. Dress them in rainbows!!! Cats LOOOOVE to wear cute outfits and to be dressed up!! (spoiler: nope, evidence: attached)
3. Party Party Party!! Cats love it when there are a ton of strangers around, loud music and dancing!! Plus, you can move their litterbox into a different room so your guests don’t have to smell poop! Cats love having to search for their litterbox, it’s like a scavenger hunt!! (spoiler: nuh-uh)
4. Bring over other animal friends. Cats LOVE hanging with animals they haven’t met, they’re super social creatures! (spoiler: maybe no)
5. Put catnip on EVERYTHING. Cats love to be high, in fact, they know exactly when to stop sniffing / eating catnip so they only get a little bit high and don’t go absolutely batshit. (Spoiler: nah they don’t)
6. Feed them gyros and cups of fruit!Cats are obsessed with food stands and eating things that are not made for cats! They have stomachs of steel and never get sick!! (Spoiler: BAD IDEA THEY WILL BARF EVERYWHERE)
7. Feather. Boas. Did you know most cats really want to be birds? Nothing makes them feel more special then having feather boas around their necks to celebrate. (Spoiler: dear god do not)
8. March them in the parade!! Cats love to walk on a leash, and they love loud noises, naked screaming people, and Cher. They honestly probably have a collection of Cher records. Bonus: Let them carry the sign that says “CatPride 2014 MEOW!” (Spolier: do not and do not)
We hope you have SO much fun.
We also hope you do none of these things.
So that you have fun.
"I am a girl who likes girls and would like to know how to meet a girl at a pride parade?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
OKAY LISTEN. Pride is a great place to meet a girl because you automatically have so much in common. First, you’re at pride, so saying “Happy Pride” is a great way to begin. You’ll know immediately if she wants to talk to you about more sexy things because she will either (1) say ‘happy pride’ and continue walking, or (2) say ‘happy pride’ and look at you and wait for more questions / conversation / sexy talk.
SECOND, everyone at pride is looking to meet someone at pride. I mean, that’s a slight exaggeration, but LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE GO TO PRIDE WITH YOUR MENTALITY. So, assume people are looking to meet someone cool and that’ll make you feel a little better about approaching strangers.
THIRD BONUS POINTS. I just heard about this new thing THE YOUTHS are doing called ‘ping pong.’ It’s this WHOLE THING going around where, if you can’t figure out whether or not a girl likes girls, you say “ping” and if she’s into girls, she says “pong.” I VOTE FOR THIS GAME TO GO TO THE OLYMPICS.
GOOD LUCK GETTING LAID. BYE.
WAIT. STOP. PEOPLE REALLY SAY PING AND PONG???!
DID YOU JUST MAKE THAT UP!??!?!
ANSWER ME, DANNIELLE.
I agree, meeting people at a Pride Parade is at least 14 times easier than in real life bc you can legit be like, OMG GAYYYYYY IM GAYYYYY DON’T YOU LOVE BEING GAYYYYYY DOOOO YOU WANNA KISS ME?!?!?!
It’s kind of like being in Vegas. What happens at pride, STAYS AT PRIDE.
Alternative suggestion: Bring the tiniest megaphone you can find and go up to girls you think are cute and be like, *whisper voice* Happy Pride to a Pretty Girl from a Tiny Megaphone. If she ignores you, be like, “damn this thing must be broke,” and move along (bc then you are still hilarious btw), but if she is like “OMG YOUR MEGAPHONE IS SO CUTE” then be like “THATS WHAT SHE SAID” and kiss her mouth or something.
"A bunch of my straight girl friends can’t wait to wear rainbows and face paint and get hit on by other girls at the bars during pride. This feels kinda weird and voyeuristic to me. What can I say to them to make them feel welcome, but also express my discomfort?"
-Question submitted by Anonymous
I have a few VERY DIFFERENT thoughts about this question.
First, I want to play Devil’s Advocate for a second (was I supposed to capitalize that or no?)… I’m willing to bet that on a normal Sunday afternoon you’re not found half-wasted in a bar getting hit on by ladies while cloaked in rainbows with glitter streamers in your hair and face paint across your forehead. BUT it is pride, so you’re gonna act a little bit foolish, because IT IS A SPECIAL OCCASION WEEEE!!
If that’s an okay way of thinking for you, why isn’t it okay for your friends? Is it just because they’re straight? Is it because they’re into being hit on by girls, whom they would NEVER consider a relationship with!? because also, they would probably like getting hit on by boys who they’d never date, getting hit on is fun!
SECOND, I don’t think your friends mean any harm at all, in fact, they’re probably like ‘LOOK AT HOW EXCITED WE ARE AND HOW SUPPORTIVE WE ARE, WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH WE ARE SO GLAD ABOUT EVERYTHING PRIDEY WEEE’ and don’t even recognize that making jokes about being hit on by girls might offend you in some way. AND it’s totally okay for you to just say something outright. Literally just saying “I have no idea why, but it sort of makes me feel weird that you’re looking forward to getting hit on by girls while wearing rainbows, I WANT YOU TO WEAR RAINBOWS AND GET HIT ON, it just makes me feel weird the way you’re talking about it, like pride is a joke or something?”
They will understand as long as you are being honest and kind and thoughtful and not making them feel dumb, you will be fine.
Oooooph. This is a TRICKY ONE.
The thing is, their behavior is making you feel like they don’t take the larger picture very seriously… or at least, I assume that is how you are feeling. You are a gay all the days of the year, and there is a part of this situation that probably makes you feel like, “Oh sure, guys. Have a blast being ‘gay for a day’ and then going back to your lives and not caring about anything IT’S ALL JUST FOR YOU TO HAVE A PARTY.”
Or something like that.
I think the absolute BEST thing to do in the situation is to create a positive action out of it all. Instead of saying to your friends, “hey, don’t have a blast because it makes me feel uncomfortable” (which it sounds like you don’t want to say anyway), flip that and make it productive. Say, “hey, every year we all go out for Pride and you fools have a blast with your rainbows and shit, but then it’s over and we stop thinking about the other reasons that Pride exists. This year, I’d love to do something more – and was thinking maybe we could do a small fundraiser for an organization that helps the LGBTQ community, or volunteer for part of the day, or even reach out to volunteer somewhere once Pride is over.”
Pride is certainly a time to celebrate, and I think that we are all entitled to get excited about the progress that is being made, to feel like we are a part of a larger community working for change, and to have a blast, paint our faces, etcetera. I also think, though, that Pride is a time to celebrate that progress by thinking about how we can work to ensure that it continues, expands, and remains a constant presence in the world around us.