Photo: Courtesy Amy Patton.

Living in a hyper-liberal bubble like Long Beach, or the entirety of California for that matter, often creates an illusion of peace and acceptance.

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Yet, it feels like everyday that we’re reading headlines about the Trump Admisistration and Health and Human Services opposing the Equality Act and other various pieces of protective legislation, or unexpected hate crimes and acts of violence. 

People outside the LGBTQ+ community will still ask, “why have a pride celebration?” Surely, we as a people want for nothing else. Hell, we can finally get married — are we just being greedy?

From the outside looking in, Pride is just one giant party. And at first approach, that’s exactly what it is. We’re celebrating; we got the promotion, we got engaged, found a surrogate, approved for them loan, didn’t get kicked out of the house after coming out, didn’t get beaten in the streets for holding our partner’s hand, didn’t get shot at during a night club. We celebrate what we can, for everywhere we look our brothers and sisters are systemically being snubbed out. But we often forget that here in sunny California. 

But Pride is so much more than rainbow flags and drunken hookups. It represents our voice, our power. At LGBTQ+ rallies, a popular chant is: “Together. United. We won’t be divided!” Pride parades and festivals are merely a physical apparition of this. 

The first time I attended Long Beach Pride, I teared up. The sheer amount of bliss and authenticity was overwhelming. Moving through heteronormative society, you forget how much of your personhood gets swallowed or glossed over on day to day basis. You begin to censor yourself, finding small closets or pockets to cram you “otherness” into so that you fit in during that staff meeting. But not during Pride. 

Pride is our time to shine — and boy do we.