What are you thankful for this year?
For too many LGBTQ+ people, Thanksgiving can be a fraught time, a regression to suppressing our identities around relatives who may not accept us, at least not in a way that allows us to be our true selves.
We at the Leonard Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation are forever thankful for our chosen families. We may not share a genetic connection, but we embrace one another fully. We create a space where we all belong. We are connected by a bond stronger than blood, a birthright that is both a trial and a privilege.
This bond was brilliantly displayed throughout the many celebrations of Pride this summer, particularly right here in Connecticut and New York, where the Leonard Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation partnered with Circle Care Center to support Pride celebrations in over two dozen suburban communities. The result was a kaleidoscope of happy smiles, warm hugs, fabulous drag performances and story hours, movie nights, art shows, and a plethora of parades.
We truly had a gay old time.
Unfortunately, this year’s Pride was not immune to prejudice. Pride organizers throughout New York and Connecticut remained on constant guard over potential threats to the safety of their communities. And in New Haven, CT, a reckless bomb threat caused panic and confusion, resulting in building evacuations and city road closures. Mercifully, the pride celebrations had already been postponed due to inclement weather.
It’s tempting to succumb to fear and despair in moments like these. But the New Haven Pride Center actually offers us a perfect model for hope and optimism. The rescheduled pride events included a rapturous block party, community BBQ, and a “BiConic” Film Festival, which were attended by hundreds of LGBTQ+ and allies who refused to be bullied into hiding their joy. And just recently, the Center announced a relocation to a bigger space that will allow them to welcome and serve even more of their community.
There is always hope amidst the bleakness. Especially now, as we make space in our hearts for the innocent lives lost in the Middle East—many of whom are part of our intersectional LGBTQ+ family and allies—it is crucial to remember this: There is always hope.
Which is why, even as we brine the turkey and prep the pumpkin pie, we are already looking forward to expanding our Pride Coalition in 2024. That means more laughter and love, more togetherness and community. No amount of hate can erase us. Our beautiful rainbow shines through the rain. We are forever proud to be one chosen family.