Affirming spaces. Some of you may experience affirming spaces abundantly in your life – which is a beautiful gift. Others of you may find affirming spaces less frequently, or not at all.
Pride Month and related celebrations provide opportunities for LGBTQIA2-S+ community members to find affirming community where it is otherwise sparse, and to celebrate it joyfully in places where it already exists. Many of us, myself included, experience a mix of these two dynamics in our lives.
The value of community coming together, of having people collectively remind you of your worth is not to be understated – especially within a society that largely maintains and perpetuates cis, hetero, monogamous, patriarchal culture. Identifying and cultivating affirming spaces yields a direct beneficial impact on mental health and wellbeing, and creates a structure of support for when challenges inevitably come.
As Pride Month begins, we hope you find many ways to celebrate and be celebrated, while remembering the following:
You deserve to be seen. You deserve to be valued. You have worth.
You have permission to create your community spaces thoughtfully. Not everyone is able to support you in the ways you need. That’s okay. It is probably less about you and more about them. A valuable question that I have practiced asking myself is: “If this person/family member/friend knew how to love and affirm me fully as the queer person I am, in just the ways that I needed, do I honestly think they would intentionally withhold that from me?” Most times, I firmly arrive at: “No. Absolutely not.” And that allows me to hold more grace and compassion for their journey, which is an intricate web of personal and cultural experiences, just as mine is.
As your community influences you, so too do you influence your community. Contribute intentionally. Be a voice that heralds justice, promotes acceptance, and nurtures diversity in all of its forms. Individually and together, we create a community where affirmation can flourish.
To affirming spaces: May we seek them, may we cultivate them, may we be them.
Happy Pride Month!
Featured Image courtesy of Canva