It's time for an LGBTQ check-in
"How are you?"
It's an essential question in the friendship canon. When someone close has gone through a turbulent life event, friendship means stepping in and performing the ritual emotional pulse read – a mutual check-in. One of the unexpected dividends of caring for others is that you sometimes, paradoxically, discover where you're at as well.
Many hot-button topics profoundly affect LGBTQ people, inside and out. Our struggles are public sport: schoolyard bullying, murder of transfolk, deportations of LGBTQ people of color, bathroom panic, criminalization, HIV/AIDS stigma, discrimination in the name of religion or politics, too many to name. We rage. We discuss and argue at rallies, cocktail parties, drag shows, galas, and especially online. Or we just dance them off.
And the topics aren't merely hot-button. For many, they are life and death.
Many issues make it into mainstream discourse. Some result in policy change: the revocation of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, gender neutral bathroom ordinances, school regulations addressing bullying, (not enough) incarceration reform and law enforcement sensitivity training, and the big one that went all the way to the Supreme Court and won: marriage equality.
The successes, failures, and flat-lines have all left their mark.
So it's time to check in. It's time to revel in our emotional rainbow without judgment. There's joy, sure, but also sadness, anger, fear, and disgust – as well as many other affective colorations: schadenfreude, surprise, pride, and love, just to name a few.
You may have deduced by our cover art: We were inspired by a recent viewing of Disney/Pixar's Inside Out. Guilty. Silly. But if we're going to face and own our part in the LGBTQ emotional landscape, at least we have a cartoon to blame.
As we head into the annual gathering of the tribes, aka Austin Pride, we invited five people from across the spectrum for a gut check of "all the feels": Ceci Gratias, Maggie Lea, Morgan Robyn Collado, Dino Foxx, and Jim Fouratt (the last two living lives outside of Austin but long histories of engagement with the city), are an impassioned and motley crew to be sure. We're not even sure that any of them will be at Pride. But just as one emotional state is insufficient to capture the stew of triumphs and losses within our broader communities, so too would it be to imply that any individual person is emblematic of one particular emotion within our varied scope. They are writers, performers, activists, bureaucratic wranglers, advocates, and trusted advisors. What truly binds them is that each is emphatically themselves, from the ruminative to the unapologetic.
It's why we have such deep love for them, and it's why we wanted to ask:
So, how are you?