This article was supposed to run in the 2021 issue of PRIDE & Equality magazine. With the still unpredictable environment, we made the decision not to publish. So, I will share my thoughts from a year ago, as they still resonate now.
It’s 7:08 in the evening. I’m jotting down my thoughts for the Publisher’s section. I find myself contemplating if there is still a need for this publication. When the magazine was just a thought, I was 19 and freer than I have been. I reminisce about spending nights with my best friends at local nightclubs and dancing the night away without a care in the world. I met some of the most outrageous people through those clubs. Some I still know, care for, and love very deeply. I also remember questioning why my church leaders continued to tell me that the people I love would burn in hellfire for being who they were.
I never understood people’s hate for individuals I admired for being so open and fearless. They were brave enough to be themselves, regardless of what society told them. I felt we needed more of that in this world. We needed more people who inspire us to say “fuck you” to those who try to make us small and quiet. That was my inspiration for starting PRIDE & Equality. I wanted to show the community in that beautiful light. I wanted to show the beauty of humanity in a group that created a family when they had none.
There were many challenges in the beginning, even still today. Those who wanted to be apart thought more about the financial gain than the mission. Hard work isn’t for everyone. But it didn’t matter. I knew what was ahead, and it was too important to give up. Eighteen years later, after the closing of bars, gyms, bookstores, and centers, P&E is still here. But I still sit here and ask, “is it needed?”
Then, Bunnie Cruse ran for House District 28.
Bunnie has been a friend, a sister, and a resource before the birth of this publication. She knew me before I became a mother. I know her past, and I couldn’t be prouder of her as she decided to run for office. Because I knew there was a trans youth watching her do this and saying to themselves, “I can do that.” It was why she is a Model of Hope. I had to fight to explain that choice, too. In the end, she persisted. She is a pure definition of why I started the magazine.
While contemplating my decision, I watched the latest episode of the mini-series “Pride” and learned about Nelson Sullivan. A gay man who videotaped his life and his friends in the early eighties until the day he died in 1989. Over 1100 hours of footage captured the humanity of the LGBTQIA community, which produced a YouTube channel where anyone can view the history. The series was beautiful and passionate. It was my mission.
PRIDE & Equality has produced many stories and points of view over the years. It has contributed to making a difference in many people’s lives. It’s not about me - it’s about the mission. The magazine is giving the community a voice.
I will continue the mission.
Teresa Maria Robinson
PRIDE & Equality Magazine
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