“Acceptance Matters” is a series of interviews with locals during WorldPride month in New York City.
Lauraberth Lima (she/her) works to create equitable spaces at the intersection of medicine and the arts. She is a founding member of the arts education organization, the Love Yourself Project, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Making Gay History podcast. After years of family and community engagement work in museums, Laura is currently a pre-med student pursuing a medical career with a health justice lens.
Ames Beckerman photographed and interviewed Laurabeth at 267 House in Harlem, where Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston lived.
What’s your pride style?
My pride style is a 365-day effort of making the choice to express as authentically true to myself as possible. It’s the decision not to code switch or to shrink in any way for any external factors. It’s remembering the first time I saw a person being visibly queer and it gave me permission to be me. It’s choosing to be extra, show off my tattoos, hold hands in public because I know some child out there needs to see that and give themselves permission
What does pride at 50 mean to you?
The 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising is a great moment to reflect on how far the queer liberation movement has come and also what’s left to do. It’s a reminder of why activism and resistance is so important, no matter how radical it feels at the time, because we must always be on the right side of history. Look at where we are today. It’s a reminder of the sacrifices our ancestors bravely made for us to arrive here. We stand on their shoulders and must continue the efforts so that the future LGBTQI+ community can live with more human rights than we do today, than our predecessors did 50 years ago.
How are you planning to celebrate?
I have been enjoying a very mellow pride of special events at various cultural institutions. I kicked off the month by making a trip to Jacob Riis beach, attending a recording of Making Gay History (podcast) at Stonewall, attended Tionna McClodden’s Stonewall celebration event at The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the opening of Pride: Photographs of Stonewall and Beyond by Fred W. McDarrah. I am also hosting an LGBTQ Teen Summit at the Museum of the City of New York on June 27th because the queer babies deserve to celebrate their history in radical joy.
How are you trying to practice love & acceptance this pride season?
Self-love is a mental health journey that one must work at every day. This is especially true for those who are part of marginalized communities. For me, the most important thing to remember is to be kind to myself, because the world is already so tough on us. I am my own soft place to fall. So I believe firmly in reminding myself of my strengths, centering my purpose, and not bashing myself. It’s also important to pick and choose your battles — knowing when it’s necessary to give into triggering moments and when it’s time to be “unbothered.” Self-love and pride is also about making space for other queer folks whether it be a conversation, a hand, or a pathway to a job opportunity.
Lastly, I plan to tell all of my queer friends that I love them every day and how proud of them I am for living in their truths.