Reflections on Pride 2022

ASCB asked members of our LGBTQ+ Committee to share their reflections on the recent Pride month. We asked, “What is something surprising you learned from Pride 2022?” Here are a few responses we received at the time of publication. 

Katelyn M. Cooper is an assistant professor at Arizona State University School of Life Sciences.

“I spent much of Pride thinking about how senior researchers (including fellow members of the ASCB LGBTQ+ committee) helped instill Pride in me as a graduate student. As a relatively new assistant professor, I reflected on how to best pass that forward. I was surprised by how making a small effort to acknowledge Pride month and initiate a small pride celebration can have a lasting impact.” 

Bruno Da Rocha-Azevedo is the co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Committee and works as a Senior Scientist at Eikon Therapeutics in Hayward, CA.

“Pride 2022 for me was a time of celebration, but deep reflection and concern—while people were celebrating, trans rights have been threatened in multiple states and by the U.S. Supreme Court in the tragic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which clearly threatens LGBTQ+ rights in their written decision. Pride started as a protest, and I think we should keep this always in our minds.”

Ori Avinoam is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomolecular Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

“I was surprised by how good it felt seeing the rainbow flag on campus for the first time. This one simple act seemed to acknowledge all the extra hardships along the way. For a moment, I was not invisible, and my identity was not something to hide. I realized how much walking around with armor was weighing on me and how productive and creative I can be when I feel safe being myself. I finally understood why it is so important. “

Joseph Campanale is a Project Scientist in the Denise Montell Lab in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“Pride has always held a special place in my life. Except for the past two years, I can’t remember a time in the past two decades that I had not attended a Pride event. Whether because of COVID or just the timing of events in my life and career, I had not celebrated Pride in 2020 and 2021, and I don’t think I realized how much this affected me. So as Pride approached 2022, I was ready to celebrate with the pent-up energy from the past two years. What surprised me was how emotionally overwhelmed I was the entire month of June. These emotions came as I took the time to do some self-reflection. Two realizations dominated my thoughts, and they really did catch me by surprise.

First, I realized that I am immensely proud to be queer. I realized how proud I am to be at the place in my life and in my sexuality that I am currently. Since coming out in 1999, I have lived an out and loud life, one authentic to me, with no regret. I am not one to dwell too much on the past but rather to celebrate the current moment. This year, my reflections ran deep and spiraled into thoughts on the past 23 years as a proud gay man. I have worked in different ways to support my LGBTQ+ community: from serving as a vice president of my undergraduate LGBTQ+ club, fighting for marriage equality with my now husband of 17 years, to trying to be the best resource I could for the queer students during my graduate and postdoctoral tenure, and contributing in small ways to the ASCB LGBTQ+ committee. My reflections led me to conclude that the LGBTQ+ community and its allies have much to be proud of. I am proud of our progress in the fight for rights, equality and to be our best selves. I am proud of the strength and resiliency of our community to overcome the challenges it has had through the years. I am proud our fight for that equality is shared with an army of allies who stand with us along the way. 

But as proud as I am, these milestones represented a duality; they were two-faced, and I am both proud and sad. Sad to realize that for as much progress as I was happy to share in celebrating, this progress is fragile.

As much progress as we have made, we have more to do. Our plights are not yet fully realized. Sometimes timing is everything, and this Pride 2022 also is the month that saw the most threat to all our Pride. The current system that protects our rights as citizens in the United States has taken up the task of taking them away. It is unimaginable to me that rights held for 50 years are now subject to being taken away. This Pride month, in some small part for me, was stained by the reversing of Roe v. Wade and the outright suggestion that same-sex marriage should be repealed. I am still unsure if I can reconcile all my feelings surrounding this gut-wrenching series of tragedies. So, this Pride month 2022 also made me think about what to do next. I have not yet found concrete answers for where to place my energy and how best to contribute to the fight ahead. But one thing is for sure, the realization that my right to love and be loved is under attack. The rights of my queer community and its allies are under attack. So this pride month, the fire that burns to support my Pride is raging to continue the fight.”

ASCB hopes members can continue this conversation on Twitter. Please mention @ASCBiology to join the conversation. 

About the Author:

This post was collaboratively written by several ASCB staff members.