Reflections on Pride Month

Matthew Federici on a winter beach

A personal statement from Matthew Federici, CEO of The Copeland Center

Pride month is important to me because I value diversity and inclusion and recognize the harmful impacts of the discriminatory, hateful, and restrictive worldviews that have existed and been rooted in the worlds I grew up in. I support the conscious raising and welcoming practices of thinking about how pronouns are used. From this practice, I have learned from the 2SLGBTQQIPA+ community that our historical use of pronouns has limited and disconnected assumptions about gender identity. These assumptions not only have a limiting and disconnecting impact on my relationship with others by also with myself.

I have never felt misgendered by the pronouns used growing up, but I also never felt supported to question or consciously think about my gender as an important aspect of my identity. In doing my own work to heal from early trauma, I found that questioning gender identity and associations with binary gender was very important to my healing. The associations and assumptions of binary gender pronouns have many limiting and negative impacts when the space between male and female gender identity is so much more nuanced and complex.

This is why over the past decade of listening to and learning from the 2SLGBTQQIPA+ community, I have discovered "they and them" support my wellness. I can admit it is a work in progress for me, and I make mistakes and get caught up in traditional mindsets that I am trying to change for myself and in connection with others. It is "OK" to make those mistakes; what's not "OK" for me is to stop working on getting to better know and respect myself and the vast diversity of people in my life because that intersection is where I connect with wellness, learn, and grow the most. I like to consider myself as an ally to this community but hugely a person who benefits from the diversity this community provides in my world.