Celebrating Pride in the Wake of Orlando

By Leon Silvers, LMHC, Experience Wellness Group Therapist

The recent tragedy in Orlando has darkened the colorful month of June, which is gay pride month. Typically during gay pride we can acknowledge and celebrate our identities and all of the accomplishments and successes the LGBTQ community has achieved. This year there are many other feelings present: sadness, loss, grief, and anger, to name a few. So how can we celebrate in light of such a horrific event, when so many are in pain?

In these moments we are left with having to experience multiple, often conflicting feelings and parts. It might be tempting to avoid these feelings, to isolate, or to engage in compulsive behaviors as an escape. However, if we allow ourselves to experience these feelings, we begin to strengthen those “feeling muscles” and learn how to better manage our emotions. It then becomes a little easier to manage those difficult emotions and allow ourselves to focus on the positive aspects of celebrating our pride.

Gay pride is a time when we can all acknowledge and appreciate what we are proud of in ourselves. This is a time when we can stop focusing entirely on our deficits and focus on our successes, accomplishments, and strengths. In this gay pride month, both pain and joy are felt. Neither is more important than the other. What is important is to manage and share our feelings in a way in which we can embrace the celebration of pride while honoring the tragedy of Orlando and the work that remains.

Experience Wellness Group provides LGBTQ-friendly individual, group, couples and family therapy. We also offer grief counseling and supportive psychotherapy. Our new weekly group focuses on learning tools to manage difficult emotions. Please call 917-362-9770 or email us at adrienne.glasser@gmail.com for more information or to set up an appointment.

Leon Silvers, LMHC is a primary and group therapist at Experience Wellness Group. At Experience Wellness he treats adults, families, couples and teens through mindful psychotherapies.

2 thoughts on “Celebrating Pride in the Wake of Orlando”

  1. Leon,
    Thank you for writing this eloquent short piece. I enjoyed it. You articulated the complexity of the tragic events of Orlando coupled with the acknowledgement and appreciation of progress made in according LGBTQ community a central, as opposed to a marginal, place in our communities well.
    Best,
    Marty
    Author, “I’m Not a Mind Reader: Using Three-Dimensional Communication to Make a Better Relationship (HCI, 2015)

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