Samantha Marinelli MALD ‘23

We spoke with MALD candidate Samantha Marinelli, incoming Pride at Fletcher student organization lead, about upcoming plans, celebrating Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community, and the importance of safe spaces here, now, everywhere and always.
Samantha Marinelli  wearing a maroon sweater leaning against a tree

 

Samantha Marinelli  wearing a maroon sweater leaning against a tree

 

Pride at Fletcher and plans for the upcoming school year

When I came to Fletcher I was going back to school after two years in lockdown from COVID and after having attended a womxn centered university for undergrad. During those six years of school and lockdown I had felt very safe in my communities, and Fletcher was going to be something brand new. New people with very different identities and experiences from my own, and I wanted a safe space to feel at home in during my time at school. While I love the perspectives my peers share with me, and that I share with them, there is always a desire to have a space where you can relax and be yourself. 

Pride at Fletcher has become that community for me. A group of people in the same academic and career fields, who also share similar values and identities. My first year as part of Pride at Fletcher I know we were still restricted due to COVID, so going forward into the 2022/23 year I really hope to take advantage of the herd immunity that the world is developing so that we can hold more in-person events while still keeping everyone safe. We are looking into events including trivia, trips to Provincetown, and engaging with the Conference on Gender and International Affairs. I also look forward to making up for the loss of the Boston Pride committee that disbanded for many reasons but especially because of the BLM movement, and really centering ourselves around POC identities and creating a safe space for anyone and everyone who identifies as queer.

Celebrating Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community

This is an incredibly exciting year for Pride all around the world after canceling events the last two years due to COVID. However, whether there are events or not, just knowing that I can be open about my identity and find community in spaces throughout the world is really the best way to celebrate Pride. I love decking myself out in rainbows, pronoun pins, and glitter as much as anyone else, but beyond that community is everything. There are some amazing organizers, especially LGBTQ+ Nightlife Events, who are hosting events all across the Boston area to bring us together. What's even better about these organizations is that, unlike the rainbow logos that pop up on most company's social media, they are around all year long!  These organizers are tireless when it comes to creating safe spaces for the queer community and finding ways to celebrate the intersectionality of our queer identities with other identities. While June is Pride Month, it is essential that it is not the only time we feel safe.  

Thoughts about allyship

When it comes to allies and people outside of the queer community understanding and celebrating, I think it is so important to understand that everyone loves an ally, but there is a time, a place, and an appropriate way to be an ally. That can mean having very difficult conversations with friends and family members to ensure that the queer individuals that you care about feel safe with you. This can also mean stepping back and being supportive, as opposed to taking center stage. We know you mean well, but I promise queer people know the most about queer people, so sometimes it's just best to listen and learn!  The best way to honor and recognize the LGBTQ+ community is by making space for them, asking pronouns, not making assumptions, and just by going through life with compassion.  

Pride’s past, present and future

When looking at where this all started and where we are now, we have to remember that the very first Pride, Stonewall, was in fact a riot and it was led by trans POC individuals, so we cannot let that history die. There are different stories across the world, and at a very internationally based school we can't say that the same progress has been made globally. There are parts of the world that I would love to live in because I will never fear having the right to marry who I love get taken away from me like I do here. There are also parts of the world that show how privileged I am to even be answering these questions or participating in any form of Pride celebrations.  Yes, some places have marriage equality, some places have maternity/paternity leave that is appropriate for queer couples, some areas allow queer couples to adopt, but even within the safest of spaces legally, you may never escape the nasty comments or actions of individuals who will simply never understand our existence. 

While it is nearly impossible to get the world on the same page for anything, I do hope that moving forward we can at least ensure the legal safety of our community across the world.  Living in Boston as a straight-passing, cis-gendered white woman I am incredibly privileged to be where I am in my life today, and I know so many people do not have those same privileges. This is why it is so important to discuss gender and sexual identities, to celebrate Pride every June, because the more that the world is educated, the more likely we will be seen as just people. We won't have to come out, we can just love with no judgement.  We won't have to fear accessing lifesaving HRT medications and gender-affirming procedures because of a hateful politician. Children will be able to "say gay" and parents won't be charged for child abuse for supporting their queer children. People will not be killed over who they love and will not be assaulted for what they wear. Our credentials will depend solely on our CV and not our love lives or our appearances or our pronouns. 

Nothing about who we are is wrong; in fact before colonialism, these identities, although unnamed, were nearly universally accepted. This is not a Boston issue, or a Massachusetts issue, or a United States issue, it is an international issue. Fletcher is the perfect place to address queer identities at an international level, and I know that the members of Pride at Fletcher are going to make such a huge difference in our world going forward.  

 

Samantha’s recommended list of Pride Month events in Boston and around the world

Boston Pride Events-

https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2022/06/01/pride-everywhere-the-big-list-of-2022-pride-events-in-boston-beyond

Boston Monthly Events –

https://lgbtqnightlifeevents.com/

Global Pride Events -

Follow Samantha on Instagram @samirose97, Twitter @samantharose971, and connect on LinkedIn