Today’s first dragon is the beautiful Umbrella Pride Dragon by American artist Kaenith. I’ll share more of their wonderful Pride Dragons series next week Thursday for the start of my Pride Rainbow Weekend (6/23-6/26), so stay tuned for that, but I needed to share this dragon today.
Even though I’ve had a few days to process, I find myself still reeling from the terror attack and hate crime perpetrated at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in the early morning hours of Sunday, 6/12/16. And I’m finding it difficult to write about it too, to write anything in fact.
I wasn’t there, and I don’t know anyone personally affected, and I know the pain everyone closer to the epicenter of this tragedy is experiencing is more acute than mine.
But I’ve also learned over the years that my own pain is valid too, and the way this has affected me is no small thing I need to just “get over,” and I’m allowed to grieve with and for my LGBTQ+ community in my own way. So here are my thoughts.
Kaenith also drew a Bisexual/Biromantic Pride Dragon, my orientation:
As a bisexual woman who married a man, I often feel marginalized in the LGBTQ+ community, even though the “B” right in the title stands for Bisexual. Because I chose to marry someone of the opposite sex, many both inside and outside the gay community see me as having “chosen a side,” and thus I’m “not gay” anymore. Since I don’t fit their fetishized version of a bi girl, having three-ways and girlfriends despite being happily and monogamously married to my husband, I must not really be a part of the LGBTQ+ community anymore.
I’ve been a regular at plenty of different kinds of gay bars over the years, so I have a feeling that, maybe especially in a nightclub versus a more casual corner bar, not everyone drinking and dancing and having a good time inside Pulse that night got along all the time. This community is proud of being open and accepting and tolerant and loving, but it’s not made up of perfect people, and it’s not a monolith. Sometimes people just don’t get along, or some gay men don’t like lesbians or vice-versa, or some trans* people are still discriminated against, or some bi and queer folks are still marginalized, or some straight allies are still left out, and there can be drama by the closet-load.
But as these last few days have shown the world, the LGBTQ+ community is really more like a dysfunctional family than as fractured a community as it seems I’m describing, and when someone attacks us, we and our allies will rise up to defend each other with vengeance and with love.
After terrible events like this, it shows us that we can come together without these false divisions and just be LGBTQIA+++ people, without our labels — which are still important parts of our identities, don’t get me wrong, but I’m talking about not being cliquey and catty and divisive, and really accepting everyone for who they are, and supporting and raising each other up, and being a community.
Because love is love is love is love is love is love is love, as Lin-Manuel Miranda and many others have said. We’re all under the Pride Umbrella, as beautifully illustrated above by the artist Kaenith, whether lesbian, gay, bi*, trans*, questioning, intersex, a*, pan*, poly*, demi*, non-binary, genderfluid, or any other version of queer I’m forgetting (apologies in advance).
Let’s not go back to divisiveness once the heartache of Orlando subsides. Let’s really try to live up to the image of the loving, inclusive, accepting LGBTQ+ family we’re showing the world now.
Be kind, love each other, and take care.
I shared Kaenith’s Trans Pride Dragon when I posted my March Random Writing, called Willful ignorance of trans* issues has real consequences (op-ed), and as I said above, I plan to share a few more to kick off my Pride Weekend next Thursday. But in the meantime, you should check out Kaenith’s deviantart gallery and art tumblr called Land of Ink and Charcoal, as well as personal blog at A Dork in Shining Armor.
Thanks for reading!