Staying Grounded

What roots me during pride?

I stood in the middle of the Rainbow clothing shop glaring at a rainbow halter top, wondering if it would give some dykey femme credibility. I was 19 and desperately seeking a sense of belonging within the queer community. I was a college student, 3,000 miles away from home, trying to figure out the best outfit to legitimize my queerness. I eventually bought the top, wore it to Pride, and walked all over NYC late into the night.

Today as I write this from the quiet of my garden in Santa Fe, I realize I hold Pride differently than I have in the past. My queerness isn’t here looking for approval—I’ve come to realize that my mere existence is an act of resistance. When I think of what roots me during pride today, it’s not finding the right outfit, it’s my community, my family and taking the time to enjoy the mundane.

Don’t get me wrong, the fight is always real and continues, hence my work with Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network (also known as GSA Network), where my efforts are rooted in racial and gender justice in our local communities and on the national stage. The reality, though, is that whenever I reflect on the simple and beautiful joys, I can go deeper in gratitude for this life I’m living right now.

While I can appreciate the celebration of Pride, I also know Pride is actually on all year round. I don’t stop being queer on July 1; my queerness shows up when I have to remind our daycare provider that our children have a mama and a mami, or when I enter a workspace that is not LGBTQ2S specific and I ask that we share pronouns in our introductions. Isn’t it curious to have a month to celebrate us? My hope for our trans and queer communities is that we know we are loved, even through the hateful rhetoric showing up in our legislation. My hope is that we feel our own fierce power shine through with fistfuls of glitter in everyone’s face. This is what I want.

In my body, I hold the history of movements that have carried me through, and I am deeply grateful for the continued awareness and understanding of our multiple-identified ancestors and youth.

Recently, I’ve been leaning into the work of being a queer femme mami. How do I show up and share this story of myself with my kids? How do I explain the history and harmful incidents that have plagued us, tried to extinguish us, and banned our books and language? How do I convey the brilliance of our existence? When will I be able to share the love of Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde and so many beautiful creatives?

The truth is, I will treat it like building blocks. What I know to be true is that my children have a sense of belonging. My eldest is connected to every tree, every gust of wind that stirs up leaves and dirt. She is a kid who understands that being who she is, is essential and sacred. This keen awareness of her connection to life is innate, and my job is to keep supporting this, to support her vision for herself, her community and Mother Earth. My youngest lives his most authentic self when his hair is in a ponytail, and when he’s wearing a matching dress. His love of life and his ability to find humor in every moment is a balm to the hardest of moments. This type of parenting is queer parenting in its very essence, because by nurturing my children, they get to be free with who they are—something our inner trans and queer children needed so badly.

This Pride has me reflecting on how the pandemic wasn’t kind to any of us, how it stripped us of our joy, of gathering, finding new friendships and new loves. My hope is this year treats us a little differently. I am going for optimism on this one. May this year bring an abundance of laughter and connection to us. I hope we all have grounding moments, find what roots us, and keeps us alive and thriving through hard times. This Pride season, may we relish the simple moments, remember to go out and play, wear fancy outfits, hug longer than usual and kiss our beloveds. Let’s make yummy food, play our music loudly and enjoy what it means to be alive at this time.

LuzMarina is a first-generation Colombian and Peruvian queer femme mami. Her work is rooted in a cultural commitment to her communities. Currently, she is the lead organizer for Two-Spirit Initiative and National Alliances. She is also a parent to two amazing little humans.

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