As many are aware, June is Pride Month. Pride Month is a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQIA+ culture, uplifting and encouraging LGBTQIA+ voices to be heard, and for raising awareness for the challenges that the LGBTQIA+ community face everyday.
This past month, InVision held a panel to discuss the history, intersectionality, and hope of Pride and Juneteenth. The discussion focused on educating the community on queer history, illuminating the importance of close collaboration and allyship, and identifying intersectional actions InVisioners can take to support the LGBTQIA+ / POC communities.
Below, we reflect on the three key takeaways from InVision’s conversation with panelists Jefferson Darrell, Genya Shimkin, and Agaiotupu Viena.
1. This isn’t a trend. This is history.
Historically, queer history is censored based on ‘acceptable’ ideology by colonization and whiteness that spreads the erasure of queer history. One way whiteness marginalizes these movements is by being a driving force to erase community identities in history. Another way is by influencing ways in which people establish what is acceptable and then there is pervasive ideology marginalizing other identities.
One element is that erasure is a common theme where history is usually seen from a patriacharcial, male lens. For example, one panelist shared their experience of visiting the National Museum of African American History Museum. They noticed that while there is an abudance of queer identifying figures in the Civil Rights movement, such as James Baldwin, none of the information at the museum mentioned his queer identity. Many times, people get erased from history because of the lens that history is told.
Continuing to erase the struggle only harms those in the LGBTQIA+ community because they can’t connect to these modified stories that allow them to feel accepted. In order to prevent this, you must acknowledge your privilege and prevent censorship as being acceptable. Celebrate diversity, speak up, and do not accept erasing that diversity.
“We are moving back to a historical understanding of the ways that people have always been and should be free to be. We see numbers go up and people think ‘oh this trans trend.’ No, this is more people coming into their understanding.” Genya Shimkin, assistant teaching professor at the University of Washington states.
2. Learn, share and celebrate
Essentially, not everyone will have a close relationship with someone in the LGBTQIA+ community, but you can learn from the community and educate those around you. Learning and spreading that education is essential to being an ally with the community so that others can learn and better understand those within the LGBTQIA+ community. There are many ways to drive real, non performative changes. For example, it’s important to have difficult conversations within your community because not every LGBTQIA+ person can reach your community.
“You can come over to our community, take what you learn, and take it back home. Take it to the people that you are able to move because I can’t.” Agaiotupu Viena, Deputy Director of Utopia Washington says.
Another way to educate is to celebrate. Using spaces to celebrate identities sparks joy. Many celebrate their identities in different ways. Some of the ways to create these spaces is by doing care work for the community. Show up to Pride events and support performers and artists in the community, embrace the community as your space of joy, celebrate those that are living their best lives because it is defiant in itself of those oppressing marginalized groups.
3. Listen to understand.
“My biggest piece of advice would be to listen and I don’t just mean listen. I mean actively listen to understand, comprehend, and not just to counter” says Jefferson Darrell, founder and CEO of Breakfast Culture.
Listening to others stories and journeys in life can better ground your understanding. You may learn something new or do your homework to learn more about those around you. In turn you can start questioning your preconceptions and can better your self awareness.
Thank you to our panelists and Joe Klomes who designed customer Zoom backgrounds for the panel.
To learn about and support the LGBTQIA+ community, find more resources here.
Laura Furlong is the Content Marketing Manager at InVision. Her extensive marketing career has allowed her to work with lifestyle brands on developing elevated and innovative content. She currently lives in Southern California.