Envisioning a Future Pride

As another Pride month comes to its close—with profile pictures going back to their default colors and the department stores beginning to take down their rainbow displays—members of LGBTQIA+ communities and allies alike can sometimes be left wondering: what comes next? How do we keep this momentum going? How do we carry this energy—this affirmation, this visibility, this pride—into July and beyond? While potentially a source of inspiration and motivation, this question itself can also bring up some anxiety, as so much of queer identity and experience involves navigating uncertainty—and few things are as uncertain as the future.

One way to chip away at this potential anxiety is to envision and plan. With the context of Pride being so focused on history (the Stonewall uprising, historical advancement in representation and rights, etc.) as well as on the present (banding together to navigate the slew of contemporary struggles faced by persons marginalized in terms of gender and sexuality), it can be fruitful to take a moment to pause and ask: how can we envision future Pride?

Remembering the Arc of History

While the anxiety of an uncertain future can shake us to our cores, community can help to hold us steady. When envisioning a future Pride, we can look back on the past—not to dwell on it or try to recreate it, but to gather helpful data and to informatively analyze trends. And what do those trends and data tell us? Pretty clearly, we see the LGBTQIA+ perpetually growing and leaning into self-assurance. While the increased visibility unfortunately but predictably comes with increased push-back and escalating antagonism, history teaches us at least two important lessons. First: the push-back will be in vain, and as a community, we will push forward. And second: even if that antagonism seems very loud, it is very loudly coming from only fewer and fewer voices. The arc of history bends in our favor, and while it might move slowly, we are moving forward along with it.

Active Envisioning

Sometimes the precarity of an uncertain future can stop us in our tracks, and when it does, it can be helpful to have tools ready to help us out. A practice of active envisioning can help here. If you experience a sense of post-Pride drop that comes with some discomfort about what happens next—next week, next month, next year, or even after that—take a few moments to imagine yourself at future Pride. In your mind’s eye, let yourself see the colors, the crowd, the movement and the energy. Hear the chatter, the music, and the inspiring words coming from a speaker with a microphone. Feel the breeze on your skin, smell the air, taste the iced coffee in your hand. Really drop in with all of your senses and then notice: there is community. There is support, there is acceptance, and there is joy. There is safety, exploration, and celeration. Altogether, there is pride.

Let yourself stay there for as long as it serves you! And when you’re ready, think of just one small thing you can do today—for yourself, for your friends, for your community—to help you take even a tiny step toward building that future.

A Dynamic Movement

Thoughts of the future can be complex: exciting, motivating, intimidating, scary. When these complexities give rise to anxieties, we can remind ourselves that the project of building future Pride is a collective one. As persons with shared identity, overlapping experiences, and common goals, we are bonded in community even if we never meet face-to-face—a community that stretches from the past, throughout the present, and well into the future. We are part of a living lineage, a growing heritage, and a dynamic movement that can and will carry us forward and onward into future Pride.

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