Self-Reflection: Queer Thoughts from a Brown Xicana

In light of recent events, I write to you from the perspective of a Queer Xicana Feminist. Today marks June 1st, the beginning of Pride month (at the time this was written). It is also the month of my partner’s birthday and our 8 year anniversary. This month holds particularly beautiful happy memories full of sunshine, frigid beach waves and blinding smiles. This month to me, holds the memory of my very first Pride parade in SF, where I had to lie to my mother about where I was going, and hopped on BART to the Civic Center. Let me tell you, it was such a culture shock for me seeing people (who didn’t look like me, keep in mind) being their authentic selves. Watching the parade from the sidelines, I felt like a child at a comic store gazing in wonder and awe. I saw many adults being adults (aka naked 6ft tall white men with nothing but a biker hat and leather harness) rollerblading past me. I remember seeing Google and Facebook parading in their white shirts with rainbows and Pride flags, and feeling kind of mystified about their presentation. I felt like it was kind of a show more than actual allyship. 

Moving forward to San Francisco Pride in 2019, I went with my best friend and looking at the Pride goers around me with a bit of a distant gaze – I felt like someone had removed those rose-colored shades from me and I saw Pride in a different perspective. It still had that Pride energy–friends getting ready to mingle and be with the community, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness as I viewed into the crowd of mostly pale faces. Pride of 2019 was the 50th year of the Stonewall riots, riots that created the space and the month for the newer generations to celebrate equity, love and community. It was a riot started by Black Trans women, and a beautiful one to boot. 

I write this piece as I reflect on the recent deaths of our Black community members, protests and uprisings occurring in every city in response to systematic, institutionalized racism. Systems such as the law enforcement, police departments, ICE, are all part of the reason our communities–Black, Brown, Queer, Immigrant, Asian, Feminine, Disabled, religious, etc– have been targets of oppression. As I write and reflect for the beginning of Pride Month, I feel myself thinking of those who came before me, who started the movement in the face of brutality, who put their bodies on the line to give us a future, and am reminded that there is still work to be done. 

Although I can sometimes walk down the street hand in hand with my partner, it does not mean that our Black brothers and sisters can do the same without being persecuted. I write this with the weight of the sentiment that I feel about the people who are from the community, who are persecuted for the color of their skin, for being born a feminine presenting person, for living their life as the person they should’ve been born to be, for having a disability, for not bearing children, for being undocumented, for anything that is not the antiquated status quo. 

Along with all the heavy feelings, I feel pride for my community coming together. I feel secure knowing that Queer and Trans People of Color in my community will stand up and face the oppressors in the way we know how. I am proud to say that we have allies who are not just performative, but stand upright next to us, hand in hand with their strength and power. The beauty of this month is the sense of community that builds and flourishes together.