Y For All, Y For Us, Y For You in Pride 2022
This year’s Pride is essential for many different reasons for the LGBTQIA+: we’re back to doing Pride in person for the first time in a few years, we are seeing increases in community events and as the Y continues to support and celebrate the diverse communities we serve.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, this Pride, I am also grateful to work for the YMCA of San Francisco as I celebrate my 16-year marriage with my husband. Also reflecting as the first open gay male CEO of a YMCA, I’m eager for us to come together this year, in celebration and in action.
Y for You
Our connections back into these spaces feel like a homecoming. We are excited to reconnect with our Pride roots to celebrate and honor the queer leaders (Milk, Johnson, etc) who paved the way for us to exist in all spaces through our lens of queer identity and our queer bodies. We also recognize the power of you to be an ally to ensure our ability to live as our authentic selves. We can see the support from parents, colleagues, children and neighbors within our communities. That is the brilliance of Pride. This reconnection allows us to come together, embrace our authentic selves and stand up for our right to live openly amongst our neighbors while asking them to join us. Especially now, as we see how much support is needed to protect our rights nationwide.
Y For Us
The decriminalization of queerness is one of the foundations of Pride, which has led to the rise of people’s movements and significant historical events such as Stonewall and Compton Riots that gave way to Pride as we know it. Movements such as the 1987 ‘Silence=Death’ Project, featuring the pink triangle that references the Nazi persecution of LGBTQ people in 1930s-40s, echos the current ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and anti-queer bullying culture. It’s because of the strength and resilience of our communities and through allyship, in which we have seen the changes in anti-discrimination laws and have won recognition for LGBTQIA+ rights. To honor these wins and take steps towards a better future is to understand the history behind what we’re celebrating as we continue to not just decriminalize queer existence but to celebrate it in all its forms.
Y For All
Pride calls for inclusivity. It calls for P Flag parents, straight allies, supportive teachers and more. Therefore, we are honored to be recognized for all the work we have done to uplift Trans and other LGBTQIA+ stories. Our messages continue to demand a space for ALL of US. We’re credited for how we’ve shown up; you’ll see us at the middle school walkouts, highlighting the difficult journeys of our trans board members; you’ll hear about the successes of our LGBTQIA+ staff, and even get to see a mother walk across the stage for graduation with her child. We uplift the stories and these people because we care. This takes all of us.
Let’s build inclusivity in all our spaces this Pride and together we can ensure the Y is a place where you can BE, BECOME, and BELONG.
Y for All, Y For Us, Y For You
CEO and President
YMCA of San Francisco