For many like myself, who grew up as outcast queers in households rigidly defined by normative cultures, belonging was not a given. We were taught that who we are is unacceptable. Rather than encouraging potential towards emergence, fear and shame shadowed the possibility of authentic expression, and so from rooting confidently and securely into one’s place in the world. Pride, then, becomes not only a question of celebration, but reclamation.
The first pride parade was such an act of reclamation. Protesters took to the streets resisting oppressive narratives, redeeming their personhood and dignity as deserving of a voice. At the heart of it all was the valued understanding of a diverse and possible world. Where queer was once a derogatory word, it now stands as an ever-inclusive celebration of diversity. The word itself is dynamic, alive and evolving in responsive flux to power structures for the very reason that despite its changing application, its very existence points to the margins of the ordinary. Queer points to possibility.
It is this sense of possibility which I felt while being marshaled on a US Navy Seal helicopter as an evacuee from a month-long war in 2006, looking beyond the Lebanese horizon to leave behind a life hidden in the proverbial closet. Shortly after arriving in America, I met someone and fell in love. It’s your typical love story; we moved in together, started a business, and defined our roots within the community. Except for the fact we were denied to live out that very story, at least in legal terms. In 2013, along with two other plaintiff couples, we filed suit challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. Kitchen v. Herbert made its way through the 10th circuit of appeals in Denver, and eventually to the Supreme Court. On October 6th 2014, the right to marry was extended to Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming, New Mexico (marriage was already legal there), Colorado, and Utah.
Here at Naropa, we believe in nurturing the possible. We celebrate the spirit of resilience the queer community represents, honoring our shared legacy of ardent voices, and those championing us into the future. While we have come a long way since Stonewall in securing rights for the LGBTQAI+ community, and the unsung trans, nonbinary, and drag heroes who paved the way, there still remains much to do in ensuring that all are seen and treated with love. Our work today points towards ensuring safe and affirming spaces for our trans siblings, extending the circle of queer inclusion to the BIPOC community, and moving towards equitable economic practices. We are committed to fostering the values of Justice, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, and ensuring that all have a seat at the table.
No matter who you are, or where you are coming from, or how your life has so far taken shape. No matter the differences – we are all deserving of the decency to lead meaningful lives in an effort towards belonging, built on the foundational integrity of taking pride in each other’s very existence.
May you know that you are already loved,
Moudi Sbeity, he/they
MCIC Graduate Assistant
Mindfulness Based Transpersonal Counseling (’26)
Read more about Moudi’s story as covered by the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/28/dining/gay-restaurants.html
Check out these upcoming Pride events in the community:
Boulder, Longmont, and Lafayette pride festivals:
Denver Pride Festival:
Pride events throughout Colorado:
The Strange Fruit of Black Excellence Gala:
Resources for those seeking support:
Resources throughout the state:
Queer Counseling: https://queerasterisk.com/