Intern Spotlight: A Pride Month Interview with Dana

Meet Dana, our new Development Intern! In honor of Pride Month and the start of summer, we wanted to introduce a few of our new interns and learn more about them by getting their takes on Pride, identity, international LGBTIQ human rights, celebrating diversity, and the best queer jams.

What does Pride mean to you?

To me Pride is all about being who you are and not wanting to or needing to fit that into the mold of what is expected by society. Pride means celebrating those differences and recognizing the beauty queerness embodies. I’d say that’s the main thing. But also, a big part of Pride is realizing how wonderful the queer community is. There are some similar experiences that all queer people can relate to, but also, every queer person brings their own lived experiences and distinct perspective. Pride is about honoring all of that and coming together to express the happiness that stems from being proud of who you are and wanting to share that with the world.

What are you excited to do in New York this Pride Month? Are there particular Pride-related events you’ll be attending this month that feel especially meaningful or important in celebrating your identity?

One event I’m really excited about is Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race is hosting the pride march with ABC News. I’m a very very big RuPaul’s Drag Race fan, and a very big Shangela fan, so I’m definitely going to be there. Besides that, I am also just really thrilled to march. This will actually be my first ever pride march. Before coming out, I was hesitant to attend pride when I wasn’t my true self and was still dealing with internalized homophobia. Now, with endless pride, I am stoked to do it right!

Which international issues affecting the global LGBTIQ community will be particularly on your mind in the midst of these domestic pockets of support for the queer community?

Although being queer is never easy, there are a lot of safe spaces and accepting communities in America. However, many queer people all over the world lack these and lack fundamental rights. So I think in terms of Pride, I’m always just thinking about how festivals and events like these are not accessible to many other queer people who are in countries where they can get arrested (or worse) for being perceived as not conforming to gender and sexuality norms. While Pride is a very exciting and happy time, it is also a serious time to think about all of the work that still needs to be done globally.

What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTIQ community?

I think one of the biggest things that everyone can do is just educate themselves more. Even for people in the queer community, there’s still a lot we can learn about what’s happening all over the world. I think that’s the first step in figuring out ways you can help – just being aware of what’s happening. And then I think little things really do matter, such as supporting and sharing information about organizations that you believe are doing good in the world. Also, because of the strong relationship between politics and culture, something that I’ve been thinking a lot about is how important it is for queer individuals to stand up and show the world who they are and what change they want to happen, even when it may be hard. It is important to be the voices for the people who are prevented from speaking and the advocates for those who are prohibited from advocating for themselves.

Thinking more locally, what are small ways in which people can make Pride celebrations more inclusive and diverse, as they go about their normal festivities?

A very important issue. I think everyone needs to always be willing to keep things more open. Something that I’ve noticed is that there still is gatekeeping within the queer community, and people questioning whether others really belong and things like that. And while I do understand why people feel the gatekeeping urge in some instances, I think the most important thing is just being open and allowing anyone who wants access the ability to engage. And also, trying to educate yourself about issues other queer people experience that you may not is critical. We all come from different backgrounds and have different identities, and the queer community needs to be adaptive and accessible to everyone.

Lastly, do you have a favorite Pride song or queer anthem?

Oh my god I have so many. I have queer Spotify playlists… I love Hayley Kiyoko. But I think I would have to say “I’m Coming Out.” I think that’s my answer.