Celebrating Pride and Giving Your “Heart to Break”
“Heart to Break,” by Kim Petras, and her accompanying video, is pure gender euphoria as she embraces her young-girl-in-love femininity. Gender euphoria is generally defined as the joy people experience when their gender expression aligns with who they are. It is the opposite of gender dysphoria. Both transgender and cisgender people can experience gender euphoria. Petra’s music video inspires my own gender euphoria that basks in all things sparkly.
This post celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month. There are many wonderful resources to educate yourself about the history, and present-day advocacy. And there are many wonderful events around the city this month. I encourage to get searching if this interests you.
As a relationship therapist, I’ll add how important the family system and community is to supporting and celebrating their LGBTQ+ loved one(s) this month. Kim Petras and her success is a testament to that.
I previously wrote about what it’s like watching artists who are still working themselves out differentiation-wise. Those whose music is enchanting, but they still have a lot to figure out themselves and their interactions with the world. Kim Petras is not one of those artists. From her Grammy Award acceptance speech that honored those who paved the way for her, to her self-advocacy, her advocacy for others, and her boss career moves, Petras magnificently embodies differentiation. Of her fame Petras has stated, “I wasn’t discovered, I discovered myself”
Petras experienced struggles when she was younger. Assigned male at birth, she was trapped in gender presentation that didn’t fit. She feared how puberty could permanently change her body to express features that were incongruent with her gender identity. The inner distress was unbearable. The bullying at school was toxic. The protective factor? Her family. With the support of her family, competent medical and mental health professionals, and her own wisdom and courage, she became the shining pop princess that she is today.
Just imagine the extraordinary love and attunement of Petras’ parents. They were able to listen to her expressing an identity that has historically been marginalized, believe her, and believe in her need to brave the wilderness of affirming care that was so cutting edge, she was the youngest person in the world to receive it at the time.
Petras has claimed that “Heart to Break” is about young romance and crushing on someone who could be a mistake. But I hear a deeper message. To me, this is a song celebrating deep love, such as love that is felt raising children. Its lyrics recognize that when you put your whole heart in, you can’t control the outcome. The lyrics express the fear of the damage vulnerability could cause, but the musicality is hopeful, and the music video tells a story of connection.
It takes a support system to enthusiastically give someone your heart to break. It takes allies willing to put what they know from the dominant culture aside, and lovingly listen to a different perspective. It takes being willing to see an old system shattered so that a more inclusive one can be built.
You don’t have to identify yourself as LGBTQ+ or be super close with the LGBTQ+ community to throw yourself into pride celebrations. If anything, be an ally for the next generation. The more support LGBTQ+ youth see pouring into the streets, the more courage and energy they will have to get through their adolescence and meet the task of actualizing into a healthy adult.
Parents, Aunties, Tios, etc. can show support early by celebrating this month. When children see their elders celebrating Pride, they know their identity will be supported, whatever it is. They know that they can joyfully bring home whatever partner or best friend, and their heart will be accepted.
Happy Pride to All!
Note about my stance in this article:
We know from countless studies that analyzed numbers, listened to stories, celebrated positive outcomes, and grieved losses, that gender affirming care supports the best outcomes. We know that failing to provide it could result in extreme harm or death. This is why the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists considers it an ethical obligation for therapists to provide and advocate for gender affirming mental health care. If you identify as LGBTQ+ and you have ever experienced discrimination from a therapist, or were told they didn’t have expertise to treat you based on your identity, know that the therapist was the problem, not you. You deserve mental health care that affirms who you are.