This June is especially important for me, it’s Pride month and International Yoga Day falls on June 21. And as a Queer BIPOC yoga teacher, who is recently out and recently married, I am taking this month in stride and in pride. It’s not easy to claim who you truly are to the world, especially when you are part of the minority in more ways than one. Since coming out to my family, friends, partnerships and those who follow me on social media, I have learned more about myself in these last few months than I expected.
I have realized that I need community and support now more than ever. And have detached myself from those who once fit into my circle. And I am watching my circle change and grow in different ways. What I have also discovered is that I have more supporters than I do critics, and that is refreshing. I may have come out late in life, but better late than never. And I am grateful for those who have come before me. The women who fought for our place in this world, the Black Americans that have given their lives for our rights, and more recently the Queers who have battled for our freedom of expression in this world.
The rallies, the battles, the fight, is not over. We are not fully there yet, but we have come along way. There is still a lot of work to be done. And I will continue to do my part to live as proudly and as loudly as I choose, not just for myself, but for those that come after me. But it’s not just up to me, we can all play a part, small or large. So if you are one of those people who feel called to support ‘Us’ and not sure in what ways you can, here are a few suggestions:
#1 Attend a pride event/parade in person or virtually. Wear the gear, make the sign, just show up and don’t ask dumb questions. There are pride events happening this month around the globe. There’s no need to worry about what others will think. We need to stop worrying about others and start feeling free to express ourselves and our support for causes that strike a cord within our hearts. Many battles have been won, voices have been heard and rights have been given, because people marched and showed their support, this is no different.
#2 Volunteer and/or donate to the Trevor Project and/or ACLU. There are also community centers near you that could use some support. You can also reach out to someone you know personally and ask how you can help support them this month or even longer. The suicide rates are high among the Queer community. Imagine not being able to come out, and keeping yourself hidden for years at a time, because you don’t feel safe to come out. There’s also a high homelessness rate among the young Queer community. Some choose to leave home because they don’t feel accepted in their own families or it’s not safe. We can do better than this.
#3 Become an ally and an advocate. Educate yourself, curate your social media feed, speak up against prejudices, share blogs, be inclusive, and just be normal. The Queer community is not really all that different that any other. We have hopes, dreams, and families. We’ve been through trials and tribulations just like any other person. We have access to so much information on the internet, it’s not always necessary to go directly to a Queer person and ask them about their story. We have information at our finger tips, to read, watch and listen to.
#4 Support an LGBTQ+ business. There are lots of ways to do this. Do you have a podcast? You could interview a business owner. If you know of someone and have experience working with them, feel free to send referrals. Or if you have don’t have experience working with them, now is a great time to become a client. If you have social media, follow them and share their post. And if you have experience working with them, right a review, and/or leave a comment on their socials. Attend one of their events. And lastly, maybe it’s time to invest in a small business and support their dreams to grow.
What ever you decide to do this month, I hope that you can do it with pride, compassion, heart, and most importantly, love. At the end of the day, do something that brings humanity closer together. Do something that helps build a world where people are free to express their race, gender and sexuality with out shame. Do something that sets our children up for a future that they can thrive in. Do something for someone, whether or not who know them. Because you never know whose life you just saved, whose day you just made, whose heart you just touched. And maybe, just maybe, the heart that gets changed is your own.