Pride!, Survival, Protest and Celebration

Today we are sharing an article to honor PRIDE Month written by MUSEA’s emerging FLUXX Gender Non-Conforming Circle Guides, Maia Lemann and Max Puorro. This is the first in a series of articles that will focus on the LGBTQ+ community and offer educational resources to our MUSEA Community as we embrace and welcome the many expressions of gender and identity that exist within our human family and deserve to be normalized and honored.

‘Getting Comfortable’ artwork by Maia Lemann

In the early hours of June 28th, 1969 a room of people danced and drank the summer night away in New York City. Gays, queens, trannys, lesbians, queers, and dykes convened to socialize and express their identities with joy. At this time in the United States, holding hands, dancing, or kissing someone of the same sex was illegal and members of the LGBTQ+ community looking to have a night out were faced with refusal of service, harassment, arrest, or violence. As a result, LGBTQ+ patrons were often forced into the periphery, in this case, the Stonewall Inn, a beloved bar in Greenwich Village.

That morning there was a targeted police raid on The Stonewall Inn. The raid at Stonewall Inn mobilized the crowd inside and catalyzed a multi-day occupation and active resistance of the police force. It drew in large crowds and greater visibility both to the violence and oppression LGBTQ people experienced as well as the growing organizing movement to demand equal rights and respect.

The first official pride march happened in New York City on June 28th, 1970 to commemorate the year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Since then, Pride parades and gatherings are abundant around the world in June. Music, feathers, glitter, bubbles, dancing, and being in community. Being able to express yourself, your true identity, and love is something worth celebrating. It can be a fun and joyous time.

However, it is important to remember that Pride always was and still is a protest against oppressive systems.

‘floralway’ artwork by Max Puorro

Pride month is an occasion to celebrate identities that deviate from what some culture overlords decided were gender and sexuality norms. In the Intentional Creativity community, we’re all about throwing out ill-fitting narratives that others have created for us, and instead to find our true selves. Starting with the self, is an excellent spot, but if we could expand this mindset, how could we alter the ways in which we are perpetuating narratives onto others?

Let’s stop assuming someone is straight until they tell us otherwise. Why are we burdening our children with the weight of having to overcome the status-quo of a heteronormative world and make them come out to us? Instead, we could hold in our mind that an individual has their own identity and that they will curate their life in their own beautiful way.

This is a time to consider how we can show up with love for the LGBTQ+ community and the myriads of experiences and identities it contains. It’s a great time to unlearn, and reeducate. It is also a time for storytelling, remembering, and sitting in gratitude for the many individuals who fought intensely for people, like myself, to continue to exist. The stories of LGBTQ+ liberation are not without violence and not without dancing.

I invite us to honor that in celebrating and marching, there is also rage, anger and grief. Susan Stryker spoke potently about her enlivening experience of rage and reclaiming embodiment in an environment that rejects her identity.

“I find a deep affinity between myself as a transsexual woman and the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Like the monster, I am too often perceived as less than fully human due to the means of my embodiment; like the monster’s as well, my exclusion from human community fuels a deep and abiding rage in me that I, like the monster, direct against the conditions in which I must struggle to exist.”

‘Just One More’ artwork by Maia Lemann

“This is a time to consider how we can show up with love for the LGBTQ+ community and the myriads of experiences and identities it contains. It’s a great time to unlearn, and reeducate. It is also a time for storytelling, remembering, and sitting in gratitude for the many individuals who fought intensely for people, like myself, to continue to exist. The stories of LGBTQ+ liberation are not without violence and not without dancing.”

She writes:

I will swim forever.
I will die for eternity.
I will learn to breathe water.
I will become the water.
If I cannot change my situation I will change myself.

In this act of magical transformation.
I recognize myself again.

I am groundless and boundless movement.
I am a furious flow.
I am one with the darkness and the wet.

And I am enraged.

Here at last is the chaos I held at bay.
Here at last is my strength.

I am not the water—
I am the wave,
and rage
is the force that moves me.

Rage
gives me back my body
as its own fluid medium.

Rage
punches a hole in water
around which I coalesce
to allow the flow to come through me.

Rage
constitutes me in my primal form.
It throws my head back
pulls my lips back over my teeth
opens my throat
and rears me up to howl: and no sound dilutes the pure quality of my rage.

No sound
exists
in this place without language
my rage is a silent raving

Rage
throws me back at last
into this mundane reality
in this transfigured flesh
that aligns me with the power of my Being.

In birthing my rage,
my rage has rebirthed me.

We hope that this article has deepened your perspective and supported the valuable unlearning and re-education that leads to showing up with love for the LGBTQ+ community and the myriads of experiences and identities it contains. ❤🧡💛💚💙🤎🤎🖤

We invite you to learn about and consider supporting the following organizations who are doing incredible work in the community, organizing direct action specifically with regards to housing/material needs and healthcare for LGBTQ+ community.

GLITS INC and Trans Women of Color Collective.

~ Maxx and Maia, MUSEA Community Members + FLUXX Gender Non-Conforming Circle Guides

Expanding MUSEA’s LGBTQIA2s+ Community + Resources

At MUSEA we are responding emergently and with love to the many expressions of gender and identity that are being lived out powerfully and beautifully by our community members. As a grassroots movement guided by a matriarchal lineage of storytelling and artmaking, based in women’s circle and consciousness raising, we are proud and excited to be opening our arms wide open to LGBTQ+ people who are choosing to journey with us. In order to create a nurturing and safe/brave space for LGBTQ+ members, we are in the beginning stages of forming our FLUXX Gender Non Conforming Circle guided by Maia Lemann, one of our cherished MUSEA Team Members, as well as Max Puorro, an Intentional Creativity community member – both who identify as gender non-conforming. Max and Maia are working with our MUSEA leadership team to create a circle space in which LGBTQ+ community members can gather together, share their stories, and work with Intentional Creativity processes together.

If you are interested in being a part of this developing circle, we encourage you to FILL OUT THIS FORM to share a bit about yourself and ask Max and Maia any questions you might have about the group! We look forward to hearing from you.

Many in our community desire to be good allies for our LGBTQ+ members, and are actively participating in learning and expanding our awareness of the many gender expressions and identifies that exist in the beautiful rainbow of our human family. For those who are wanting to understand more of the language emerging in reference to the LGBTQ+ community, we encourage you to check out this informative article from NPR in collaboration with GLAD that will support you in your learning journey!

We share this article in the spirit of allyship, solidarity, celebration and love and thank your for reading and learning with us!

~ The MUSEA CoCurators

Thank you Maia and Max for sharing your story!