Hello! My name is Adriana Withers. I use she/her pronouns, am a proud gay woman and I run this little company whose website you're on - thanks for visiting us!
As I write this post, I am reminded how lucky I am to have a platform from which to speak up, shout out, and fight on for equality. It’s Pride month year-round for some of us, but many (most?) LGBTQ2S+ folks are definitely more used to the fight than to the party.
Personally, I have been "out" since my early 20s, and I've had a very "easy" experience with being gay. My family and friends accept me for who I am, and I live in a big city, in a progressive country. I am white, cis-gendered and (somewhat) educated.
I have had the same job since we started VC in the late 1990s, so haven't experienced any bigotry at work. My family sits comfortably in the middle/upper tier of the socioeconomic ladder, so I have (and have always had) access to credit, enabling me to create my own job.
In other words, my circumstance has been provided to me through a set of circumstances that a) I never "earned", and b) are absolutely not reflective of most marginalized community members'.
What's My Point?
Pride has always been more of a party for me, thanks to the sacrifice of others who paved the way for societal acceptance.
To be honest, I didn't know this for the first 10... maybe 15?... years in which I "celebrated" Pride, attending Toronto's massive Parade.
For years, I (blissfully) didn't know about the sacrifice that Marsha P. Johnson made. I knew about the Stonewall uprising, but I didn't know at which extent so many Black Trans women fought for the rights I celebrated strolling down Toronto's Church Street with a group of friends.
So many other examples.
And, now I do know... more, at least - not enough, though, yet.
Today, what Pride means to me is less party and more action. What I think about when I think about being gay is the millions of kids around the world who can't safely be; young people who are fighting every day to be themselves, and to stay safe.
I think about Trans youth and the dumbfounding assault on them by the US government. I wonder how conservative lawmakers don't understand that their politics are risking lives; that they are killing people with their bigotry - every day. Then I get scared that maybe they do understand... and that motivates me even more.
And so, while I celebrate my identity and my conviction to be who I am, and to love whom I love, I take the energy that I used to spend partying, multiply it exponentially and dedicate it to fighting for those who need backup.
What Can You Do?
If you’re inclined to make a Pride support post this month (or ever), show your love for rainbows, etc., please consider matching your enthusiasm with a donation to a community organization doing the work on the ground.
You can likely find a reputable organization in the same amount of time it took you to post that photo of you at a Pride parade... but, if you're looking for some inspiration, here are the organizations that VC and/or our partners are supporting this year.
Please consider making a direct donation; lives depend on the work of these organizations, and these organizations depend on the support of their community, and people like you.
Pride 2021 Organizations
VC's Pride 2021 Support Recipient: Get REAL
Austin Torch | Transgender Education Nexwork of Texas
Milwaukee Monarchs | Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
New York Gridlock Ultimate | Black Trans Travel Fund
Atlanta Soul | Solutions not Punishment Collaborative
Please consider supporting these organizations directly. If you do choose to pick up a piece of VC Pride gear, we will be donating 15% of revenue to the noted organization on your behalf.
"I Don't Get It"
If you add the words, "but I want to" to the end of that sentence, than that's 100% ok. Education, learning, understanding, empathy... these are all fundamental aspects of allyship. It's ok to not know how to "do this".
If you have an intent to learn why Pride is a matter of life and death for so many folks, that's the first step. If you really care about how your support and active engagement in dismantling the systems that perpetuate the marginalization of LGBTQ2S+ individuals can make a difference, then you're on your way.
The progression of "gay rights" and the speed at which LGBTQ2S+ issues are being recognized is boggling; the landscape is changing so fast. Which also means that the assault on community members' rights is fierce. There's no time to waste.
Pronouns Pride | Kellan Gibboney Reflections
The Get REAL Movement | 2021 VC Pride Beneficiary Organization