Pride with no Parade

In its 50th year, the LA Pride Parade has been postponed indefinitely.  How can this be?  With all of the oppression that the LGBTQ+ community has faced, it’s hard to comprehend that something is preventing us from participating in a cultural tradition that is based on defiant freedom.  How do we stay in to celebrate Pride, when what we’re celebrating is synonymous with Coming Out?

Whether we are LGBTQ+ or not, we are in an incredibly challenging chapter in our lives.  One with loss, uncertainty, confusion, and fear.  Many of our usual methods of coping are currently unavailable to us.  Communities of support aren’t accessible to us in person.  Our means of financial support may be in jeopardy or even gone.   We’re living in fear of losing our loved ones.  Many lives have tragically been lost.

Of course, this is not the first time that the LGBTQ+ community has faced a devastating challenge such as this.  For many, this current experience is bringing back tragic memories of the horrific AIDS epidemic.  There was fear, unimaginable suffering and heartbreaking loss.  The disease seemed to be targeting the LGBTQ+ community specifically and that only fanned the flames of anti-gay and anti-transgender sentiment in society, expressed through policies from administrations and violence in the streets.  Along with grieving this past, though, we can also learn from it – and have an awareness of positive aspects that emerged from it, to give us the hope that we need now.

In a recent press conference regarding the impact of COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci also drew a parallel to the AIDS epidemic and the resilience of what is now known as the LGBTQ+ community.  He recalled that, “During that time, there was extraordinary stigma, particularly against the gay community.  And it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism — I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community, very much so.”  As head of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci was responsible for developing medications to treat HIV/AIDS at the height of the epidemic.

Thankfully, the devastating hardships connected to the AIDS epidemic also inspired qualities of strength in the LGBTQ+ community that became embedded in our conception and expression of pride.  Compassion.  Love.  Unity.  Resilience.  These are only some of the principles that are now weaved into the very meaning of LGBTQ+ pride, similar to the colors that comprise the rainbows of our flags –  and the spectrums of kaleidoscopes!

So, are we able to have pride without a parade?  Absolutely!  The principles of pride are internal ones that we carry with us, always.

Let’s draw upon those principles now.   We may not be able to meet in the street to march and celebrate, but we are able to connect virtually until we may once more do so in person.  At Kaleidoscope, we support the revision of the term “Social Distancing” to “Physical Distancing,” because we are able to connect socially while remaining safely physically distanced.

We invite you to join us in this social connection and pride celebration!   Meet us in one (or more) of Kaleidoscope’s free online LGBTQ+ social support groups!  There are many such groups to choose from.  Simply choose one or more that interest you and represent your age group.  Then, click on the link to register.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Pride Club
Wednesdays | 4:00-5:00 PM | Online
Like a GSA – from the comfort of home!  Connect with other LGBTQ+ teens and allies virtually with Kaleidoscope. Ages 12-17.

Creative Expressions Group
Next one on 6/4 | 6:00-7:00 pm | Online
(1st and 3rd Thursday of the month)

LGBTQ+ youth and their allies are encouraged to present an original creation – whether it be something written, a song, a dance or a piece of art – that is appropriate to share with others, then receive and give encouraging support. Ages 12-17.

Coffee Chat
Thursdays | 3:00-4:00 pm | Online

Young adults of the LGBTQ+ community are invited to join Kaleidoscope for an afternoon of virtually meeting peers & feeling encouraged.  Ages 18-24.

Creative Writing
Next one on 6/11| 6:00-7:00 pm | Online
(2nd and 4th Thursday of the month)

Join our free workshop geared towards LGBTQ+ young adults who have an interest in expressing themselves through writing.

To the Letter: LGBTQ+
Next one on 6/12 | 2:00-3:00 pm | Online
(Monthly – Second Friday of the month.)

This interactive class teaches all about the significance and differences of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you’re an ally who wants to learn more about what it means to be LGBTQ+ and how to provide affirming support for your LGBTQ+ loved one, this class is for you!  Ages 16+.

Self-Care during Self-Quarantine
Thursdays | 9:30-10:30 am | Online

Not just for LGBTQ+ folks, but for everyone – including parents!  Share as well as receive ideas and encouragement about taking care of one’s mental, physical, and emotional health during this unprecedented time of social distancing in self-quarantine.  Ages 16+.

About the author

Bryan Scheihing is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who provides individual, group, and family therapy support with the Kaleidoscope program as well as working in the community to promote positive institutional support of LGBTQ+ individuals.  He has dedicated his professional life to helping provide affirmative support to members of the LGBTQ+ community by promoting awareness, acceptance, empowerment, and equality while also helping individuals realize their potential and achieve their goals.  Interested in receiving Kaleidoscope services?  Contact Bryan at [email protected].