(Note: This story appears in the April 2023 issue of SE Magazine

It’s illogical — for me, impossible — to arrange an LGBTQIA+ Pride-themed issue of anything without acknowledging that with every visibility there accompanies necessarily a vulnerability.

I’m reminded of this when I’m out with the girl I’ve been capsizing over (“not my girlfriend!..yet,” I maintain my heart protectively when SE’s Kris Kay asks for my latest love life update), and some (male stranger) says to us, “It’s so great to see a lesbian couple so out.”

(I had forgotten the image of us externally, involved as I was in the sky of her baby blue eyes.)

Maybe you’ve noticed — or maybe you haven’t (who/what directs our optics is an other question) that in the last 3 months, over 300 anti-LGBTQIA+ laws have gone up for consideration in the United States state legislatures, half of which target transgender people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 42 states have proposed anti-trans bills already in 2023.

How, fantastically, we as a human race have infatuated ourselves like a lover with power, that there are entire bodies of government controlling still what we can do with the skin we wash in our baths at night, and, even more terrifying, which masses of fat/muscle/tissue are able to manifest. This isn’t even a question of freedom, it’s one of the right to live vs. a holocaust.

But this isn’t a political note…it’s a note of pride. And a message of hope. (I try.)

When Circus of Books had pornography seized in their parking lot, did that keep gay men from seeing gay men’s bodies? Did it keep gayness from existing? Or, whoever you are, did the washing of media ever keep you from your ideas? When far-right commentator Michael Knowles announced from the Conservative Political Action Conference stage earlier this month that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely,” according to the LA Times and multiple other news sources, what effect did that have?

“Pride,” to me, is a staying.

Every time I feel afraid (which is often, especially in recent years), that the world is ending, I return to this poem, 

“The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On,” by Franny Choi:

Before the apocalypse, there was the apocalypse of boats…

Border fence apocalypse. Coat hanger apocalypse. Apocalypse in the textbooks’ selective silences…

By the time the apocalypse began, the world had already ended. It ended every day for a century or two. It ended, and another ending world spun in its place. 

It ended, and we woke up and ordered Greek coffees, drew the hot liquid through our teeth, as everywhere, the apocalypse rumbled, the apocalypse remembered, our dear, beloved apocalypse—it drifted slowly from the trees all around us, so loud we stopped hearing it.

Keep listening. Not just allies, everybody: reminiscent of white feminism’s early twentieth-century push for suffrage, in which the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton tactically segregated her right to vote from that of black women, there are emerging movements right now such as “LGB – T,” in which, in defense of their sovereignty, gay people are abandoning our trans siblings.

Dear, this is all our fight: the fight to be. Whatever you are. The fight to love. Whoever you want. The fight to fuck. It’s this need we share.

And to my trans and non-binary audience especially, your pride is a boulder: a resilient staying which gives the rest of us the place to gather ‘round. Trans-ness is ancient and divine, which is why it glitters so.

If you feel moved to involve your self in the ongoing resistance, some charities are mentioned in the Special Focus. ACLU and HRC are also fantastic organizations for civil liberties. Speaking out is invaluable.

I truly believe that your store, your toy company, your lubricant, everyone I interviewed for the Special Focus and the many I couldn’t get ahold of for this issue, we are on the same side in the battle for sexual freedom — the right to our bodies and to do what we please with them.