As a professional gay/lesbian/queer person (you decide what that means to you :D), I have the privilege of participating in panels about LGBTQIA+ Pride, intimate conversations about identity, intersectionality, and allyship. And as part of this year’s panel back in June, we closed out (pun intended) with a lightning round of “Queeries,” which I thought could be a pretty good framework for a Pride blog post. So, for your reading pleasure (or disappointment–you decide), here are my answers to four of the queeries I helped craft (why four? why not four?)…
1. Who was your first celebrity crush?
This one is easy. I was three and obsessed with Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. Truly. As my mother loves to tell it, Wonder Woman would come on TV in the afternoons (we were living in Denver, Colorado, at the time), and from the moment it started to the moment it ended, I was transfixed. Which, after I came out, became, “We should have known when…” So, my first celebrity crush was Wonder Woman and Lynda Carter in one.
2. What’s the last queer-focused TV show you binged?
The short answer is Heartstopper. The longer answer is Heartstopper followed by Love, Victor followed by First Kill followed by Heartstopper again to cleanse my content palate of the moderately enjoyable garbage that is Love, Victor and First Kill. If there is a more perfect series about coming of gayge (that’s gay age) than Heartstopper, I haven’t seen it. I bawled at every episode. Both times. And I will certainly binge it and bawl at it all over again. And again. And again
(Since I first wrote this, I’ve also binged Young Royals and joyfully tearfully re-binged Heartstopper at least three more times.)
3. What’s your fondest Pride memory?
My first Pride. It was D.C. Pride (what I now know is called Capital Pride) with Eric, my partner in surviving gay adolescence and navigayting coming out in high school (gay boys and lesbians and platonic romance, oh my!) in 1990s North Carolina. It was the summer after my first year of college, and we drove up from NC to stay with my freshman year roommate in Alexandria. I didn’t know about gayborhoods at the time, so when she took us to Dupont Circle, it was a revelation (reve-gay-tion?). Pride flags in every window. Queer cafes and bars and even bookstores. And then Pride itself–marching and chanting and punching the air with my roommate’s youth alliance. Eric in his Batman-and-Robin-kissing t-shirt, me in my Western North Carolina AIDS Project t-shirt. The streets full of queers of every dimension and identity–some we didn’t even have names for then–and the sense of belonging that the pouring rain didn’t so much as dampen (though it did soak us to the bone for the long drive home).
4. Who do you consider a queero?
This one is harder, as I’m generally anti-hero. But seriously, everyone who came before me and did the work to make the queer world I inhabit possible, including, of course, the originators of Pride–the transgender and gender-nonconforming BIPOC leaders of the Stonewall Riots, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie, to name literally a few. Everyone continuing the work today, especially the storytellers bringing the myriad dimensions of queer experience to life. Because visibility matters. Because representation matters. Because to be, we must see and be seen.
Jessica the Westchesbian
P.S. Below is a photo of me and my wife from just over a week ago, the day before we celebrated the 13th anniversary of our first date and the 7th anniversary of our wedding. Her pronouns are she/her; mine are she/they. We are hashtag queer joy.
But with anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation sweeping across the country and the recent SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, I fear for my marriage (legally, that is). I fear for my safety (legally and physically). What I don’t fear for, though, is my livelihood. As illustrated by the queeries above, I am incredibly lucky to work for a company that gives me the space to bring my whole, evolving, intersectional, OUTspoken queer self to work every day and to have colleagues who help me create space for others to do the same.
Pride is more than a party. More than a parade. More than a month.