A year of isolation may have given many of us an opportunity for self-exploration and blossoming.
As we welcome our first Pride Month after over a year of COVID-19 precautions and protocols and moving through lifting of social distancing mandates, it can be a time for reflection on what this experience has been like for us.
Grief for the loss of a year without access to our loved ones and larger community. Craving connection, normalcy, and a sense of safety. Anxiety around adjusting to socializing as COVID mandates begin to lift. These are all common experiences for our clients right now.
As challenging and isolating as the past year has been for mental health, I have noticed a lovely little theme woven into the stories and experiences that I have been hearing from my clients throughout COVID. This year has offered many of us some time and space for introspection that we may not normally have access to in the hustle of “normal” life. With this space to look inward, many folks have had the opportunity to sit with themselves and their identities in new ways. There has been time for precious uncoverings of ourselves, who we are at our core.
Something about the separation from society has allowed folks to explore their sexuality and gender identities in new ways, from the safety of their home.
I have heard people share that they have had the space to be honest and connect with parts of their sexuality that they have been previously ashamed to embrace. Others have experienced the unique opportunity of experiencing their gender in a new way, without the weight of their gender being perceived or assumed by others so often. Experiences of gender euphoria have been shared as folks feel that they are able to express their gender in ways from their home that they have been not yet been ready to express in public.
This challenging isolation we have all experienced has offered an opportunity for folks in the LGBTQ+ community to safely move closer to their authentic selves. It has allowed for a different type of self-examination that cuts through societal expectations and leaves us with just the truth about how beautifully unique we all are.
This Pride, it seems many feel that they know more about themselves, and that is something to truly be proud of.
If this feels like you, know that you are not alone. Be proud of the hard work you have done. Take time to celebrate these new self-discoveries and settle into the feeling of getting to know your true self. Celebrate and thank the queer legends who paved the way for us, who shouted their pride so that it would be safe for us to do the same today. Protect and love the most marginalized of our community, like Black trans women, Indigenous queer people, and queer people of color. Know that all parts of you are welcome here. We are all welcome here.
Happy Pride, my beautiful LGBTQIA+ family.