The vibe at the annual Father’s Day picnic in the park is family. It is one of the oldest traditions observed here in the St Louis LGTBQIA2S+ community.
St Louis has the second oldest Black Pride Organization in America. The LGTBQIA2S+ community is thriving and still creating a sense of belonging.
I was having a conversation with a family member living in another city. I listened as they explained the loneliness felt from a lack of community.
They felt isolated. They told me there was no where to go for help as a member of the LGTBQIA2S+ community.
I was surprised because they live in a city you would think would have a well-established community of free thinkers.
Historically marginalized communities have always created traditions and events of inclusion that celebrate who we are.
Reflecting on the community in St. Louis, I began to reminisce on some of the events around our city where we could feel connected to community.
Since Father’s Day is approaching, I thought of one of my fondest events, the Father’s Day picnic that was sometimes held in Forest Park.
I asked people what some of their warmest memories were and most felt exactly as I do. It felt like a family reunion, it was a place on the earth where we all felt accepted.
Our family was there amongst us, here is where conversations could be had about what we could look forward to the rest of the year. We could reacquaint with people we had not seen in a while.
The food, music, and games made it all feel like a family reunion. It has been sponsored by a few entities in our community over the years.
Someone mentioned the Spirits Lounge sponsored it in the beginning. Other clubs like Big Moe’s and Club 747 have also sponsored the event.
We still have a flourishing community with traditions that date back decades. We are family here in St. Louis. When I came out, I found a well-established community that embraced me and my queerness.
I found brothers, sisters, and friends. Whenever I felt disconnected, I had a variety of places to go to reconnect with my authentic self.
It has been years since I have gone to the Father’s Day picnic. The last one I am told was held in 2021.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO EVERYBODY
Father by Yvette mozayik ‘the souls’ poet’
A Leader of the whole
A covering for the family tree
The provider of shelter and sustenance
Father’s shield us from harm
Fathers are not recognized as they ought
Sometimes the mother must be a father
And sometimes the father must be a mother
Nothing is better than a father and a mother
Father energy can come from two men or two women
It can manifest in a larger community
Father describes one form of nurturing energy
Be grateful for all father’s
We would not exist without the masculine
There will always be a balance
However we chose to reproduce
father is necessary for procreativity
Shout out to all the fathers on this day
whatever your father experience is
let us celebrate rather than not
LGTBQIA2S+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify