LGBTQ+++ spaces are asking ‘what does Pride mean to you?’ Pride is sorrow for being deprived of a public language in which to express who I am as a lesbian.
Pride is hurt that when I talk about being a lesbian feminist, a lesbian whose destiny is bound up with the fate of all female human beings, I am drowned out by ‘trans lives matter’. I don’t want to have to answer that with sharing the stories of lesbians brutalized for the intersectional oppression of being homosexual and female. Or with those of women forced into compulsory heterosexual arrangements and punished for following their own desire of any kind, raped and disbelieved and punished again by police and family. Any of those could have been me.
Pride is sometimes small and quiet, self-preservation finally shaking off fear. Pride is knowing who I come home to, and in which spaces I am only tolerated or precarious (too many, including LGBTQ+++ and progressive politics generally in the US). Pride is being my full big self, laughing and unafraid. Pride is dignity knowing there are some spaces where my role is as an ally and not centering my needs there, but if a community requires me to leave part of myself at home – this time it’s my femaleness more than being same-sex-attracted – I will be a shadow and will not stick around but will show my support in other ways.
This Pride I’m coming out as a lesbian who stands up for female autonomy and won’t go back into the closet, will make that a core part of my political public identity and not ask anyone’s sufferance. So here’s my coming out for 2020: integrating my women’s human rights work with my larger body of disability rights work, I’ve uploaded my 2016 LLM thesis ‘Female Autonomy vs Gender Identity A critical analysis of gender identity in CEDAW jurisprudence and the Yogyakarta Principles‘ to my Academia page, to join the rest of my papers.