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Queer Innocence & Discovery

Queer Innocence & Discovery

by Ricky Koo

The first time I felt it was in the first grade. I had just moved to a new city and I was painfully quiet. My parents didn’t make it easier because they always pointed it out and told me I needed to break out of my shell more. We were immigrants and didn’t have the privilege to have time and energy to dedicate towards talking about our feelings. Mom and Dad both had to hustle at the salon in order to pay off the debt that they got into by opening this new business. Dad spent hours every day on his feet, snipping at people’s hair while breathing in the nostalgic and disgusting fumes of this magic paste that helped them hide their natural hair color. Mom skipped meals, hunched over in the back room feverishly tending to people’s faces, making them look and feel the most beautiful they’d ever felt before. While she herself was swallowing guilt and shame and becoming an expert at holding back tears whenever the...

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Authenticity and its Importance for Queer Joy

Authenticity and its Importance for Queer Joy

by Naomi Mendes-Pouget

Have you ever heard the word ‘authentic(ity)’ and thought, what does it really even mean!? Am I authentic? Why is it such a buzzword these days?

As someone who lives and breathes the pursuit of authenticity both personally as a genderqueer woman and professionally as a Life & Business Coach, I’m thrilled to be here today discussing this incredibly powerful topic with you! Thank you, Pride & Joy Foundation, for having me!!

In this post, I’ll use the term Queer+ to address all of us on the non-conforming gender and sexuality spectrum.

Let me know how it lands! DM me on instagram @naomi_authentically.

-XO Naomi (she/they) Mendes-Pouget


What is Authenticity, and What Gets in the Way of it?

First, it’s important to explore authenticity as a verb, rather than as an adjective. Authenticity is an active CHOICE to BE visible, transparent, and truthful as we move through our...

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Back to School: Top 10 Resources for Parents and Teachers of LGBTQ+ Youth

Lez be real, friends. This has been an intense year for everyone in our community, and frankly, the intensity has peaked during this past summer of 2023.  From finding out SCOTUS made it legal for businesses to discriminate against us to Florida and.... well, that's all we need to say, just Florida.  We are all feeling huge concern for our LGBTQ+ youth heading back into the classroom this fall.  From parents to teachers to queer parents, the anxiety is big.

And we are here for you, fam!  We have several resources to support you right now, bringing you the LGBTQ+ experts, ideas, tips, and tricks so that YOU can make the best decisions possible for your LGBTQ+ kiddo.  

Starting with the most comprehensive, last fall we brought together 3 experts on supporting LGBTQ+ youth at school and featured them in a Pride and Joy Parents event.  That event lives in our Pride & Joy Parent (PJP) event replays, a course here on our website

Lots of the...

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Listening to my Inner Voice

Listening to My Inner Voice

by Kathy Kiger

I was raised to be a good girl — to follow the rules, respect my teachers, and obey my parents. Doing these things made me feel worthy. So over the years, I kept doing them.

I respected my bosses, obeyed the church leaders, and submitted to my husband. 

I wanted to be good. I wanted to do things the right way. And from the time I was a small child, I understood that the right way didn’t come from inside me. It came from others. 

I was raised to believe that nothing good lived in me. That I was a filthy sinner to my core, and left to my own devices, I was worthy of eternal torment. This was terrifying. And I believed it wholeheartedly from the time I was a small child staring up at my Sunday school teacher.

I learned that my own inner voice was not trustworthy. The heart is deceitful above all things, I read in the Bible. The scriptures told me that a wise man listens to advice. So I got advice about everything. Where...

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Your Voice, Your Power: Call for Guest Blog Posts

blog lgbtq writers writing Jul 11, 2023

Calling all writers! Our theme this year is Your Voice, Your Power . The Pride and Joy Foundation soft launched a guest blog summer schedule with the theme Your Voice, Your Power to amplify LGBTQ+ voices by publishing them on our blog and promoting them to our audience. We are excited to continue elevating queer voices with our guest blog series for Fall 2023. 

We invite guest writers to pitch their ideas for publication and promotion on our blog Here are some examples of the types of guest blogs for ideas:

LGBTQ+ authors with published books and/or books coming out

You could write your own post about your book and why you wrote it, who inspires you, a bit on the process or you can request our standard list of author questions for an interview type approach. Here are a few examples

Op-Eds & Essay

Advice & Expertise

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The Cost of Conformity

The 1980s saw Michael Jackson's "Thriller" ruling the charts, TV viewership soared with the "MAS*H" finale, and high school sweethearts Dave and Cheryl did exactly what society expected them to do - get married, buy a house, and start having kids. 

The youngest of two I found myself constantly grappling with a sense of inadequacy. Not quite funny enough, not quite skinny enough, not quite successful enough... not quite enough.

Growing up in a world where conformity seemed essential, I yearned to fit in, imitating my older sister's hobbies and obsessing over pop idols like the New Kids on the Block. However, my pursuit of acceptance often fell short, leading to relentless bullying and a persistent feeling of being not quite right.

It wasn't until seventh grade that I experienced a pivotal moment that challenged societal norms. I met AJ, a confident tomboy who sparked an undeniable connection within me. AJ introduced me to a world I didn’t even know existed. I had never...

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When Equality Leads to Advocacy

Every June, members of the LGBTQIA+ community come together to celebrate Pride Month. This celebration of our identities, our past, and our ongoing reach for equality began after the Stonewall riots in 1969 and continues vibrantly today, even though the world is scary right now.

My spouse Kristy and I are approaching our 10-year wedding anniversary in July, during a year when more than 500 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have been introduced across the country.

It’s safe to say that I am worried.

I first looked at our changing world in relation to Pride Month in 2020. One thing that I noticed then that remains true today is how quickly we forget just how recently certain things in the world have changed:

  • Interracial marriage was only fully legalized in all states in 1967. That’s only 56 years.
  • December 15, 1973, the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. That’s only 49 years.
  • June 26, 2015, the U.S....
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Pride as a Later in Life Lesbian

Why I Love Pride: A Later-In-Life Lesbian Perspective

It took me a long time to figure out I’m a lesbian. Decades in fact. And in all that time, I didn’t understand Pride. If anything, I avoided it. I'd like to think I wouldn't have been one of those Karens spewing hatred about the Pride section in Target, but I don't really know.

I’d spent my life in a religion that taught me gay people were bad, wrong. Gayness was worse than anything I could think of. It wasn't like cancer because it didn't just happen to you. I grew up believing that the people who were gay chose to be that way in defiance of the god I was told I should believe in.

So I didn't understand.

I didn't understand that Pride was born of a protest. I didn't understand that Pride is a celebration of life and love and queer joy. I didn't understand that Pride is a place to belong when you aren't accepted by the culture in which you live.

My first Pride as a later-in-life lesbian was in 2021....

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Celebrate Queer Authors

The Library is OPEN! Because what– Reading is FUNDAMENTAL, (and no this isn’t for throwing shade like on RuPaul’s drag race.) This is a post to celebrate the queer authors that are a part of our very own Pride and Joy Foundation community and celebrate queer authors as we enter Pride month and summer kicking off is a great time to grab a book and read.

Did you know the publishing world is hella hetero? According to Row House Publishing, a newer publisher that promotes equitable publishing, it is 89% straight/heterosexual and 99% cisgender. The industry is also very white. (I am sure this all this information is no surprise). 

YOUR voices matter because YOUR Voice is YOUR Power. 

I am about to graduate with an MFA in Writing Nonfiction and I have spent the last two years decolonizing the traditional literary canon by choosing to read BIPOC and/or queer writers. Here are 5 (but I have so many more…) recommendations of Queer BIPOC...

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On Gratitude: A Note from our Director of Operations

In a world passing increased hateful anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and spewing anti-LGBTQ+ and racist rhetoric, programs like the Pride and Joy Foundation's Keynote Queers, Leaders for Inclusive Change, OUTWrite Authors, and Pride and Joy Parent Events, hold spaces for the queer community to come together and share our stories, use our voices to elevate our stories, and dive into deeper conversations with allies through education, advocacy and outreach.

Events like this remind me that we are not alone. Events like this remind me that we do have allies out there standing alongside of us. I am grateful for our Pride and Joy HEROs who helped us sponsor our operational costs in 2023 so we can host events like this. I am also grateful for every single person who donated their time, energy or money to the Pride and Joy Foundation, who signed up for our newsletter, who liked or shared our content, who showed up to spaces and events and I am grateful for us, the LGBTQ+ community,...

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