Pride + Gratitude: a Brief Reflection

Joyce Gabiola, Head Archivist
June 7, 2021


Images from Lambda Archives of San Diego. Pride Photo Collection (L2013.63): San Diego LGBTQ Pride Festival, 1999 (left); San Diego LGBTQ Pride Parade, 2000 (right).

A few days ago, I thought about how my relationship with Pride has differed since coming out as gay in college. At that time, Pride meant that I could be closer to my full self in public (but still unknown to my parents). It meant that I would attend the Pride festival and freely be in a crowd of people who I felt were just like me. It meant that I would march in the Pride parade as a member of a community organization or cheer from the sidewalk with my friends. As this was all in the southern part of Texas in the month of June, it also meant that I was always drenched with sweat. It also meant that, year after year, I would feel more empowered to come out to more people, including my parents, eventually. It meant that in June being gay/queer would temporarily seem mainstream rather than ‘other’. Decades later, this feeling has become the norm for me. As far as my queerness, I don’t feel so much as ‘other’ anymore. And I acknowledge that this feeling is a privilege.

About a month ago or so, I recall saying to myself, “Oh yeah, I’m queer.” It’s not that I’ve forgotten myself nor disengaged from my queerness. (I lead a LGBTQ community organization, after all.) I’ve just grown to know much more about myself in different ways, including my limitations and coping methods, and I’m much more comfortable with myself and with navigating the world as a queer person of color. When I think about how scared I was as a child that someone would find out “my secret”, I think about my own child and how I want to shield them from that feeling–that fear or sadness that emerges when one (read: a child!) feels that their family and friends will reject them, be disgusted by them, or not love them anymore for who they are.

A few days ago, as I held my 18-month old and placed them on my lap, I told them that June is known as Pride month, or LGBTQ Pride month, and that it is celebrated everywhere in different ways. Then I said to my partner that we need to buy children’s books about Stonewall. But are there any? As I’m entrenched in the world of libraries, my children’s literature librarian network has provided me with a list of titles (see below) that also include books about Stonewall specifically, not just Pride celebrations.

I didn’t learn about Stonewall until much later post-coming out, which is kind of a travesty. So I want to make sure that my child grows up knowing about the history of Pride, the spark of the LGBTQ rights movement–the uprising of Black and Brown trans women who protested police harassment. I want them to know who Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P.Johnson are before any of the U.S. presidents. I want them to know that today I don’t feel so much as ‘other’ because in 1969 Sylvia and Marsha, with others alongside them, pushed back against a system of hate and violence. Today, I don’t feel so much as ‘other’ because of you and many others who resisted and persisted before me.

In resistance, pride & gratitude, Y’ALL!
Joyce, Head Archivist

Check out this blog post on our website!
Whitewashing Stonewall: Reflections on Racism in the LGBTQ Community
by Gabrielle Garcia, a project assistant at Lambda Archives

Check out these children’s books about Pride + Stonewall!
Pride 1 2 3 (board book – up to age 3)
Michael Joosten / Illus. Wednesday Holmes
Pride Colors (board book – up to age 3)
Robin Stevenson
Our Rainbow (board book – up to age 3)
Little Bee Books
Pride Puppy (ages 3-5)
Robin Stevenson / Illus. Julie McLaughlin
Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution (picture book; ages 3-8)
Joy Michael Ellison / Illus. Teshika Silver
This Day in June (ages 4-8)
Gayle E. Pitman / Illus. Kristyna Litten
What Was Stonewall? (ages 8-12)
Nico Medina / Illus. Jake Murray
Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets (ages 9-11)
Gayle E. Pitman

Joyce Gabiola (they/them) works as the Head Archivist of Lambda Archives and a founding editor of up//root, a We Here publication. They are a queer, nonbinary Filipinx American who navigates our capitalist society with class and educational privilege. Their solo essay about countering archival under-/misrepresentation is part of the forthcoming anthology, Q&A: Voices From Queer Asian North America (Temple University Press, July 2021).