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Pride, GR: A Queer-ies

Reflecting on identity and self in Grand Rapids during a historic time in our history.

/Briana Urena-Ravelo

Between homophobic signs on U.S. 131, Latina trans women being silenced by the president while protesting discriminatory detention practices for undocumented immigrants, and gay marriage recently being made legal in the US, there's a lot to be said about being LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) in the current day, both nationally and locally. And of course, sexuality and gender identity doesn't exist separate from other intersections of identity, like race, gender, ability, class, and so many others. I desired to offer some insight on those intersections from a local perspective.

So, “Pride, GR” is a personal essay series, or queer-ies if you will, set to coincide with the 46th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of trans women of color-led violent protests and actions that sparked the gay rights movement in the United States, to talk about what it means to exist and be LGBTQ-identified in the city. This series will feature unique voices and perspectives from members of the LGBTQ community in Grand Rapids and their experiences with their identity and being in this city.

Of course, this series is not exhaustive, but rather the beginning of a discourse on sexuality, gender identity, self-expression, and bodies in Grand Rapids, and hopefully we can start seeing more perspectives from other members of the community. What’s it like to be Black and trans in GR? Desi and queer? Femme, lesbian, and disabled? The possibilities are endless, and so are the opportunities to hear and learn and more about the wants, desires, needs, experiences, and calls for love, acceptance, respect, affirmation, and justice from LGBTQ folks in Grand Rapids, experiences that certainly include marriage but more often than not go well beyond that as well.

All the pieces in this series can be found under the "Pride, GR" tag.

Thanks to our contributors for submitting pieces, art and photos to this series!

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