Pride Month Blog: Queer Joy is…
I’m so thrilled to be writing on the Pride Month blog series and that the focus this year is Queer Joy. Honestly, joy (queer or not) isn’t something I’ve thought much about – until this year.
When one recalls moments of joy, one usually thinks of the big moments – birthdays, weddings, graduations. For queer people, those moments of joy include the various moments of coming out – coming out to themselves, to friends, to family, at work. Other moments might include good times and hijinks at Pride events. They include one’s first queer crush, first queer kiss, and hundreds of other joyful queer firsts.
“Queer joy is interwoven with queer thankfulness, queer humility, and queer hope”
But the truth is that queer joy isn’t just in the big moments, it can also be found in the small but significant everyday moments as well. Moments like when a new voice comes through my social media feed, when a book recommendation finds its way to me that hits my interests, when I find a home and friends in those pages. They are in milestones like getting my first covid shot and immediately being able to breathe easier. Queer joy happens when members of the LGBTQIA+ community run for office and especially when they win elections. Queer joy is the act of celebrating a summer of liberation and solidarity with other intersectional people.
Queer joy comes when we can be present, when each part of our intersectional selves can be fully present in celebration of the big moments and the small ones. When we can stand as witness for ourselves and for others like us. Queer joy is connected to queer pride and queer love and queer strength and queer vulnerability and queer empathy and queer kindness, queer friendship, queer adventure, queer laughter…
We must remember that queer joy can also be rooted in privilege. Not everyone can attend Pride events. Not everyone can bring home a queer book. Not everyone can live or even express their authentic selves. Queer joy is interwoven with queer thankfulness, queer humility, and queer hope.
Queer joy comes with an acknowledgment of the struggle of those who came before us, those who fought and died so we could have this moment, so we could be alive in this moment, so we could experience this joy, this humanity. Queer joy comes with an obligation to send a thought honoring those named and nameless in our tribe who made such sacrifices, and it comes with an appreciation of the queer elders living and thriving among us.
Queer joy requires risk. It requires us to step outside of our comfort zones. It requires us to do the work and be prepared for when opportunities present themselves. It requires us to believe in ourselves, in those around us, and it requires trust. In a time when people try to use our truth against us, trust itself is a risk. But when respected and welcomed, we find acceptance. We find family.
Yes, most of all, queer joy is family. Family can be our biological family, a family of friends, or any combination of individuals with whom we share a bond. While we can experience queer joy alone, and each of us should take a quiet moment to process our joy, the fact is that family amplifies queer joy. Family knows our struggle. Family knows our sacrifices. Family knows our gratitude. Family knows.
I’m thankful for my Fat and Queer family, for my Latinx family, for my family of elders, my Midwest family, for all my intersectional families and communities. But mostly, I’m thankful for my own family who know me best, who love me at my worst, who lift me and celebrate with me, who have taught me to find joy in the darkest moments and who live, love, respect, and cultivate queer joy.
Fat and Queer by Miguel M. Morales, Bruce Owens Grimm and Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini is available at JKP.com or wherever you buy books. Get 25% off using discount code JKPPRIDE25 at checkout. Offer only on JKP.com, valid until the end of June.
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