Community Relations is at the heart of what LGTB Pride – and Second Pride – is all about. Pride is a celebration – but it is also a conscious effort to build community from our many different individual LGTB cultures. Life is improving for LGTB people in many parts of the world because Lesbian and Gay elders stood together and refused to be marginalized for who we are or who we love. Our alliances strengthened us. And we live in a better world because of it.
During and following this past second pride election, our sense of community has taken a beating. Instead of banding together, lines of division have hardened. Attention has focused on the things that make us different from one another: Gay v. Lesbian. Bear v. twink. Human avatar v. non-human avatar. Club goers v non-club goers. Young v. old. I think a lot of us have been saddened and even depressed by this. All we have to do is look in today’s headlines – whether in Russia or anywhere in the world – to see why we need to continue to build a strong LGTB alliances. Like any oppressed minority – we need to stop fighting each other and learn to stand up together.
During the elections, I decided that, if I won, I would reach out to some other part of the community and offer to share my seat. I had a lot of reasons: First, the job of community building is huge. There is obvious work that needs to be done to repair the damage and hurt feelings following the election. There is even more work that needs to be done to broaden and diversify Second Pride. And finally, no one person has the connections and life experiences and perspectives to pull a community together. Community building is almost by definition a team effort.
During the election and following it, I considered several people to ask about Co-Chairing with me. But Joshie made a hard choice easy. He ran a great campaign and through his efforts, he got a lot of people to reconsider and rejoin the Second Pride festival group. And honestly, if he HAD won the election, I know that he would have done a great job. The way he ran his campaign should prove to everyone that his motivations were never about himself and were entirely about doing what is best for the community. I would be crazy not to take advantage of his energy and enthusiasm to make a positive change. And so, to the extent permitted by the bylaws, I have asked Joshie to be a co-diretctor of Community Relations with me. We will work together. He will lead specific projects. And sometimes he will vote in my place as authorized under section 5 of the bylaws.
One thing Joshie and I have discussed already is that there is room for everyone that wants to, to make a difference. We are not only willing – but eager – to empower other LGTB partners to help us build the community we seek. Do you have an idea about how second pride can be better? Are you a member of a group that feels left out? Do you feel like Second Pride doesn’t listen to what you want? Do you want Second Pride to come FROM YOUR community? Then – we ask you to please give us a chance. Bring us your idea and your willingness to participate. If you want to initiate something that helps build and connect the SL LGTB Community, we will do everything we can make it happen. We are here to work for YOU.
Thank you, Joshie, for being willing to go on this journey together.