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I'm Queer and I'm Here All Year

Why I don't celebrate Pride Month anymore

By Oneg In The ArcticPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
Top Story - June 2022
I'm Queer and I'm Here All Year
Photo by James A. Molnar on Unsplash

Every year on June 1st I get a handful of messages wishing me a Happy Pride Month. I usually respond with the generic, "thanks, you too!" because to be honest, I don't have the energy for more.

My gender is like the ocean, it has the capacity for so much

I've been aware of my gender identity and sexual orientation for longer than I've had the terms to explain it. I fell in love for the first time with another female when I was four years old, and I wanted to be born a boy when I was five. I came out publicly as bisexual at 15, and then as a lesbian a month later. Tried to go on a date with a boy, then kissed my female best friend, and then two months later got into my first real same-sex relationship. As toxic as it was, it felt way more right to be with a girl, then that one super awkward date with a boy.

Like I told my dad when he doubted my orientation, I want to feel right inside, not wrong.

My "coming out" peak was running Pride events, starting an 2SLGBTQ+ non-profit group (YR Rainbow Umbrella) in my hometown, and participating in Pride Marches. I held and attended workshops, open mics, and panels related to support services and schools. Oh, and a Hons. BA in Sexuality Studies at the same time because, why not?

It was a LOT of fun.

York Region Rainbow Umbrella at Pride 2016

During all this time, my gender identity was shifting and flowing in all sorts of directions. Which was also fun, and complicated to explain at times too. Sometimes I felt like a femme woman, sometimes I felt like a gay twink, sometimes I felt like nothing at all, or everything at once.

Getting dressed in the morning was, and still often is, a challenge.

But after all the fun and community during my adolescences and early 20s, I moved to the Arctic and honestly... didn't miss any of that. I felt like I almost grew out of it. Pride Month was just another month, and I in a way... moved on with my life. I still identified in the same way, I just felt like I didn't need to scream it at the top of my lungs anymore.

Then I met my wife. On Instagram. Who was in Mexico, while I was in the Arctic. Crazy, I know. We dated for three years, and this past January we finally got married. Gay goals, I know. (You can read a little bit about that here.)

But like I said, the older I got, the more adulty I got, and I felt that I was okay just stepping back from all the stages and parades, and just being me.

Pride Month

June represents Pride Month for many reasons, primarily for the Stonewall Riots on June 28th 1969. Riots that lasted 6 days then, but ring decades later. We wouldn't have the freedoms we have today without the courageous activism of LGBTQ+ People of Colour, and the continuous battles of the community. Trans POC led and continue to lead the way.

So why do I stand back from celebrating June as Pride Month?

For two reasons.

The first, is commercialism. Pride month has turned into a great capitalistic gain in North America. Companies paint themselves rainbow and scream equality, while they donate hundreds of thousands to organizations that are oppressive, racist, and colonial (if not also homophobic 11 out of 12 months of the year).

I am so sick and tired of this capitalistic bandwagon when June comes around.

Not only that, but funds allocated for specific marginalized groups during Pride, often go into the pockets of Pride organizers instead or are horribly misused and managed. Shameful.

And, it is all too common for police to go into parks and downtown areas and clear out encampments of homeless people to make room for a parade that litters the entire area. This is known as "beautifying downtown Toronto for Pride". And then there's tens of police units blaring sirens and screaming pride at the parades. Talk about triggering.

The Global and Mail

The second reason is more of a personal reason. I don't feel that I need to celebrate who I am just one month of the year. Or that certain rights and freedoms should be visible just in June.

I exist all year-round.

Pride events can be fun, especially for youth, and those who want to party and celebrate. But I don't feel it's fair that I have to feel like only in June can I come out from the shadows. And that's me speaking as a white settler, I can't imagine what its even like for POC.

I believe that we should be celebrated all year, every day. Yes, commemorate milestone days when rights and riots happened, but don't quiet yourself for the remainder of the year. Advocate year-round, fight year-round, celebrate year-round, commemorate year-round.

You have a right to exist and BE PROUD every day of the year. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Ever.

Pride Month

About the Creator

Oneg In The Arctic

A storyteller and poet of arctic adventures, good food, identity, mental health, and more.

Co-founder of Queer Vocal Voices

Some other rad writers to check out:

James ❄️ TheDaniWriter ❄️ Melissa

RiverJoy ❄️ J. Delaney-Howe ❄️

Water is Life ✊

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Comments (21)

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  • J. Delaney-Howe3 months ago

    I remember when you first published this. It felt good to know another queer person doesn't do the whole pride thing. Well done!

  • River Joy3 months ago

    I feel very similarly about pride (I also hate parades) this was so well written and insightful. Well expressed!

  • I absolutely Love this Article 😉💖❗

  • KJ Aartila2 years ago

    Awesome! I learn so much from your insights. Thank you for sharing you!

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Absolutely, all year!!!

  • Passion is deeply personal in my view and I respect who you are. I think with every great movement comes maturation in the social consciousness that spurred it. Be happy.

  • SJ Covey2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this great piece

  • R. K. Osborn2 years ago

    I can relate wholeheartedly, thank you for this post. You’re right, we’re here and we’re queer 100% of the time, 365 days out the year! Gives me a lot to think about in regards to June and how pride has changed over the years.

  • Patricia R2 years ago

    Can’t imagine being in your shoes, so many questions, confused, a sense of emptiness. Thinking God doesn’t love you, matter of the fact is that he does- He cares for you so much but in order to live the best life he has for us, he has established an order. For our own good, for our old age, for future generations & it’s best to follow it because he knows best. You’re young and independent now, but he sees your needs years from now. Seek the Lord with all your heart and we will be found :)

  • Caroline Jane2 years ago

    This is an outstanding article. 100% agree! Well done!

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Ford Kidd2 years ago

    I'm late reading as usual. You are so great. You know, in the history of mankind there were many famous people that our species could be proud of. But I'm proud that there are people like you. Ordinary people who make this world better, and most importantly, more correct. And those who see the true cause of things. I agree with you 100%. We as humans often turn our desire for the best into stereotypes. You are not like that :) Thank you for you😊 Congrats you're in top!

  • Shanai Smith2 years ago

    I really love love love this writing piece. Any chance you could take a look at mine?

  • Sarah St.Erth2 years ago

    This is so on point Oneg, Well written and very heartfelt. Commercialism really is like the fake friend at the party isn’t it? Ruins the whole vibe😉

  • Dawn Salois2 years ago

    Beautifully written article, Oneg. So true about the commercialism!

  • Life Lesson2 years ago

    Be authentic to yourself and it doesn't harm anyone, why not!

  • Loved the article. I agree we are more than one.month a year.

  • Misty Rae2 years ago

    Love this! I'm a straight woman but I run from very femme to kinda like a dude, and I'm okay with it. Although I was bullied unmercifully as a kid for what they called my male energy. That said, I love your approach. You're not a marketing gimmick, you're not a month, just like my Black ancestors aren't a month. You're a person, with all the rights and privileges and responsibilities we have. I get, on some level the struggle and the value of the the parades etc, but a special month doesn't cut it. People are people. Much love to you and your wife from a fellow Canadiam.

  • Judey Kalchik 2 years ago

    "I exist all year-round." this should be on a t shirt, too.

  • That is the same way I feel about Mother's Day and Father's Day. And you're so right about the 11 homophobic months. Also, you and your wife are definitely #GayGoals! 💖🏳️‍🌈

  • Gerald Holmes2 years ago

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!!! So true; everything you said.

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