I got asked to contribute to a thread on the work forum about what significance Pride has for me – either as an event or a way of living and working. It didn’t take me long to put together the following, so I thought I’d share it here too:
Pride for me – is having the support and acceptance to be my true self, not the facade I constructed for so many years to fit in with family and societal expectations. Its only since coming out and living life authentically that I realise just how exhausting carrying that mask at all times was. Pride is representing each other – supporting those who are actively suppressed, or who may not be free to speak up, or who may be overwhelmed – raising common voices so that no one has to feel that they are alone. Pride is acknowledging our history that is often unseen, and working together to move forward so that no one is left behind. Pride is curiosity, recognising that we evolve and grow over time. Pride is a challenge – facing those who would divide us or oppose us and speaking our truths. Pride is found family, the people we come to know and cherish along the way especially in the face of adversity.
And Pride is fun. Its a celebration of positivity despite everything thrown at us (sometimes literally). It is holding our heads high and being as loud or as quiet as we are comfortable with because sometimes just the act of being visible is rebellion and inspiration enough for people we’ll never know.
The sun is shining, and the flags are flying – both at home and at work – welcome to Pride Month. I’ve been busy working at the nearest library to me as we change how we manage stock, but we also broke out the flags and bunting that I got back in February so we could brighten everything up.
And then when I got home I found some extra flags I’d ordered had been delivered, so Lady M and I decided to decorate our balcony as well:
And then we enjoyed the warm summer air and listened to small children excitedly shouting about flags while we chatted with neighbours.
As we head into Pride Month, I’ve been musing on conversations about representation – particularly in the context of Equalities and Diversity at work. This has played a prominent role in recent interviews in our restructure and in conversations arising from them.
It is very often the little things that have the most unexpected effects. I was reminded of this when someone remarked this week that they were wearing a bisexual pride pin on their lanyard because they had been inspired by my wearing one.
They had found it a relief to be able to make this statement, and hoped that in turn they would be able to help someone else be able to accept and be their proper selves too.
I was profoundly moved by this. Its one thing to have previously noted the addition of the pin to their daily appearance; another to have someone say in a public forum why, and their hope for further supporting others in a similar way.
I’m proud to work in a diverse community, and be part of ensuring that my workforce reflects that too. Representation matters. Being visible matters. Showing people they’re not alone matters.
So myr s launched their GoFundMe last week to try and get the finances for their first appointments with a gender clinic and thanks to some wonderful people has enough to be able to begin that process and pay for some of the prescriptions and ongoing support required.
They are doing this privately because the waiting lists to even be seen for starting conversations are currently running at several years, and the gender dysphoria that they suffer from has been causing deep depression on an ongoing basis.
The fund is still open, and every little bit to help them will be hugely appreciated. This is literally life changing, and I want to see my partner thrive and be happy.
Its grey and overcast here, but it’s myr s’ 29th birthday so our support bubble/polycule chat is full of good wishes and positivity, so that’s no bad thing.
They’ve chosen today to launch a GoFundMe to try and raise money to begin transitioning under private medical care and support. NHS wait times are around three years before even starting support, so anything that can be done to help is worth a go. If you’re feeling so inclined, here’s a link to the campaign:
Just for the hell of it I went down to Portsmouth today to gather up myr s, the cub, Ladies J and B and go grab some food, drink, and relative normalcy out on the town. And it feels so good to have done so.
It says so much about the disruption that that has happened this year that it was, for some of us, the first time for eating out. There was a palpable sense of relief and accomplishment in just being around a table in public.
To round out the afternoon, we had a lazy afternoon where we enjoyed each others company. We did some shopping, and went back to Lady B’s flat to talk and pass some time – and it has been a tonic for the spirits for us all.
And then I came home to find that my order of one of my t-shirts had arrived from Amazon. Lady M immediately grabbed it to twirl and model and I very nearly lost it to her before ever wearing it myself.
Lady M has started to phase back to work this week, despite being in near constant pain. We’re waiting to hear back from an oncologist and hoping for an all clear. That would mean that the cysts are reducing on their own and won’t need surgery.
I’m pretty sure that the heat and stress aren’t helping with the pain, and we could have done without the gang that came round the estate in the early hours of the morning stealing catalytic converters off any Prius they could find. Its all go here.
What has been productive has of course been new additions to the redbubble site at https://ludd72.redbubble.com and helping myr s with graphics for their Twitch gaming setup. I’m particularly proud of myr s for managing to attain Twitch affiliate status so quickly under the name MorganRileyGaming. They’re working incredibly hard and making it look easy.
My body decided that today was not going to be a productive day. I was up late chatting with mre S while I painted and streamed a couple of new images to go up on the store. Waking up while Lady M dived in to Staines to see the optician was therefore not an option my body wanted to contemplate.
That said it hasn’t been a totally unproductive day. There’s been hoovering and cleaning, the flying of Pride flags from the balcony, and the breaking of a second mirror in as many days.
So that happened. Oh, and I slept pretty much all afternoon as my muscles decided that hurting all the time was getting old and I needed to just stop and lie down for a while.
Sadly with lockdown still wreaking havoc there’s absolutely no chance of getting to a Pride event this year, but at least through work there is an opportunity to celebrate a little.
I’m working as part of the LGBTQ+ Pride Network where I am, and this week has seen an invitation go up on the staff Jive network to post rainbows either as flags, themes, filters or whatever for Pride.
Its only a little thing, but seeing everyone putting up posts is heartening. The rainbow Funko has been produced by them in support of Pride and the It Gets Better Project with part of the proceeds going to that charity.
Well, that was an interesting meeting. I signed up a few months ago to the fledgling LGBTQ+ Network at my workplace, and have since stepped up and got more involved with helping shape and run it. To that end we had a quick virtual meeting via Teams to start to thrash out the basic Values and Aims of the group.
This is based partly on the corporate aims and values for diversity and equality held in common working here, and looks at promoting wider sharing of information and practice among other things.
Along the way, people started dropping their ages into conversation around how different age ranges seem to prefer making social contacts. This ranges from apps, activities, social spaces, and the more traditional clubs and bars; and really emphasises again just how easy it can be to apply a wide brush to expectations that are then immediately subverted by individual experiences and expectations. It also revealed that I was the oldest person present, so to speak.
To quote Lady W as I recounted this later, this meant I was the oldest queer in the village. This amuses me, as I would in no way hold myself up as any kind of exemplar of queer experience in any community.
But there you have it – if need be I’ll be a voice for those who don’t feel they have the confidence to speak. There are worse roles I could take on.