This past year has been one of many firsts for me. I moved away from home and into a Brooklyn apartment with roommates I hadn’t met before. My first several months here were spent working two part-time jobs and an internship, until that internship turned into my first full-time job (thanks, DORÉ!). I’m currently sweltering through my first summer in the city, wishing everyday I could roam the streets in an air-conditioned bubble avoiding the sticky air.
But because that’s not possible and global warming is an actual thing, this sweaty summer weekend will bring me to another first of mine: New York City Pride. A moment of freedom and celebration for a community who is so unapologetically themselves. A time to paint your nails, take shots with your friends and dance through the streets of New York – all on a Sunday! Like, this is what I dream about at night.
Of course, since this is my first Pride in the city, they had to go all out and invite the entire world! NYC Pride is hosting WorldPride this year, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a pivotal event leading to the LGBTQ+ rights movement. So while this weekend will be a time to celebrate, it is more importantly a time to remember the past injustices, to be grateful for the progress that has been made since then and to continue the movement for complete equality for all.
This WorldPride weekend will bring bigger celebrations with millions of people from all over the world taking over the already compacted streets of Manhattan. There is overwhelming anticipation flowing through the air. So much so that I don’t even know what to do or what to expect.
It’s almost ironic, because a lot of my life has been not knowing what to do. Growing up in Nebraska is an entirely different landscape than that of a city, especially New York City. There wasn’t much room for self-expression until I got to college. There, I started to figure it all out little by little. When I graduated and decided to pack everything up to move here with no plan, it was basically me telling myself I wanted more out of life. I wanted more out of the community I was surrounding myself with. And you get that (and much, much more) in New York City.
So even if I have no plans or have no expectations for Pride this weekend, I know I’ll make the most of it. Just as I’ve navigated my first year in the city, I’m going to embrace it, take it all in, enjoy the celebration and be proud of this beautiful community (and if you or anyone you know has access to an air-conditioned bubble, lmk).