By Rev. Anna Blaedel
This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when trans women of color fought back against the devastatingly routine brutality of police raids, harassment, deportations, and imprisonments, igniting current movements for trans justice and queer liberation.
Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and other known and unknown queer and trans ancestors responded to the urgent needs and longings of the moment, and insisted another world was possible.
Fighters. Lovers. Dreamers. Courageous queers unwilling to play nice with the violence inflicted on their souls, and the souls of their kin. Movement builders. Healers.
Forward Together, an organization committed to lifting up the leadership of women of color and building a world where all our families have the rights, recognition, and resources needed to thrive, is inviting us to “Reclaim Pride” by reclaiming our history and claiming our future.
“Pride has to be about more than parades and rainbows. Reclaiming Pride means recognizing that the violence against trans people of color never ended—and neither has our fight for liberation.”
Pride was birthed from pain and pleasure, both.
Pride was birthed from insisting “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”
Pride is celebration and resistance and healing and remembering: violence, isolation, pain, and shame do not fully define our capacity for life, nor what is possible in this one wild and precious life we share.
When it is, or feels, impossible to even imagine what repair looks like, healing happens by making space to tend to wounds, and to the joys beneath and beyond, and to the forces of creativity and pleasure patiently offering themselves in this present moment.
We cannot make healing happen, but we can create hospitable space for healing’s magic.
Healing is turning our attention to the frequencies that give and nurture life.
“Each of us has the power to help each feel more, heal, and move toward our longings for liberation and justice together,” writes Adrienne Maree Brown. “We are not just our pains, not just our fears, and not just our thoughts. We are entire systems wired for pleasure, and we can learn how to say yes from the inside out.”
No one can do our healing for us, but healing comes with and through each other’s aliveness and tender care.
Healing is not a fixing, a denial of pain, an ordering of chaos. Healing is opening to life as it is, with all of its losses and griefs and gifts.
Healing is unpredictable, uncontrollable, messy. There is no timeline or formula, and it cannot be forced. Healing can, however, surprise and sustain us.
Healing is tending to pockets of joy and cultivating pleasure, in our world so congested with destruction and pain.
Healing is finding our yes, nurturing our yes, practicing our yes.
Healing is remembering what we have, when everything is under threat.
Healing is paying attention to when, and how, and with whom we feel free, and breathe deep.
Healing is being patient when nothing feels free, and it requires sustained intention to breathe.
Healing is deflating the lies instilled by scarcity and fear.
Healing is trying again.
Healing is holding each other, and delighting in each other.
Healing is dancing when the world wants you dead.
Healing is ending cash bail.
Healing is refusing to cooperate with ICE.
Healing is remembering that together we have what we need.
Healing is slow, soft labor.
Healing is a practice of opening to life, and to the sacred life force in each and every one of us.
Healing is becoming reshaped, reoriented, by the futures we dream, the presents we engage, the pasts we carry.
Healing is sharing holy wisdom with each other, because we all are bearers of wisdom and we all need wisdom to guide our way.
And so, dear beloved you, I offer you these words of blessing, in honor of Pride, as an invocation of healing, as an invitation into fierce resistance and tender pleasure, as we reclaim, and reorient, and remember possibilities for flourishing we can barely begin to imagine:
Healing is happening within and around you, here, now, as you simply and profoundly survive. Your tender opening to life is unleashing magical healing in someone else’s life. When you show up to life, with honesty and curiosity and compassion, you manifest Spirit. This is honorable work. You are so incredibly beauty-full and brave that someone’s heart is bursting. Your liberation is bound up with the freedom and liberation of all other creatures, and your divestment from practices of dominance is a gift to yourself, healing for the sake of your own soul, as well as our collective soul. Your scars are marks of courage. Your fear need not hold you captive. Healing is disorienting. It’s ok if you feel lost. You are finding your way. Take a break from scrolling through screens, and look up at the sky. Listen to music that moves your body and your soul. Rest when you are weary. You are enough. You have struggled to get to this point, and your joy matters, too. Your presence is a gift. You are so very good, exactly as you are. You are a becoming wonder, and a bearer of hard earned wisdom. When the world feels too heavy, drink iced green tea with lemongrass on a porch swing with a friend (or whatever version works for you) and listen deeply into their longings, and dreams. Your capacity for healing and repair runs even deeper than your wounds. You are the Divine’s wildest dreams coming true. We are the Divine’s wildest dreams coming true. May it be so…