Words and Interviews by Kelila Ritchie & Teresa Spencer
October is LGBTQ+ History Month where we celebrate and remember the history and accomplishments of lesband, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. We asked a couple members of the community: “What does pride mean to you?”
Jay McPherson: “Pride means self-love, self-acceptance. Being unapologetically you and not caring about what the next person thinks about the things that make you happy: That’s pride. Pride in who I am. Comfortable in my skin … COZY.”
Geexella: “To me Pride means resistance, power and change! Black and brown trans femme have been on the frontlines for change. I feel so honored to be a part of a collective that is constantly fighting for change.”
KJ: Pride is humility, it’s love and most importantly, its community. I’m not sure if I would be where I am today without accepting and forgiving myself and Pride is the only reason why I’m able to. When you look at so many people that love and support one another, communicate so healthily and will never turn their backs on each other, it’s hard not to be proud of yourself for playing a part in it.
Madam Platinum: “An overall admiration and ability to bask in the trueness of self. Growing up a young, brown, queer person, I have been demonized for being myself by society and the people around me. It wasn’t until recently I have been able to fully let myself be and become the person who would have inspired little kid me. Now Pride for me isn’t just a day or a month but a lifestyle. It makes me smile being able to visibly see and reflect on the evolution of myself; it brings me genuine joy. I’m finally getting somewhere that feels good for me, and I am really excited to see what the future holds.”
Evan: “Pride to me is unity. It is the celebration of being UNIQUE. There’s nothing more admirable than seeing my community come together to celebrate each other and our own authentic selves. A time and place where we can truly express our identities in ways that have been repressed for centuries, without backhanded compliments, judgment and ridicule present. Pride is family, respect, shade and realness.
Marie: “Pride is great conversations over cute drinks with the gays in 5 Points. Pride is holding hands in public with my head held high. Pride is knowing my love is valid because I said it’s so!”
Daisy Deluxe: “Pride means the freedom to express ourselves, not just in front of our peers but in front of everyone else whether they want to see it or not.”
Love Reigns: Pride to me means walking confidently in my skin and standing firm in who I am. Even if I decide to change, I’m confident in my decisions and proud of the journey. What’s keeping me smiling these days is leaning into more of who I am and learning to love me more and more everyday.
Rob Nicholson: For me, Pride gives me a sense of community. A sense of belonging after feeling like I didn’t belong for so much of my life. It’s an opportunity to get to know others who are like me and those who are not. Pride gives us a sense of family with others who have also struggled to be themselves after being raised to be someone we are not. It gives me the feeling of belonging and being accepted for who we are as individuals. There is now a history of Pride that spans back more than 50 years by saying we will not be denied equal rights as human beings. Pride is about supporting those around me and creating awareness for those who are perhaps unaware. It means a time of celebrating and being thankful to those who sacrificed so much to make our community what it is today. It gives people a special freedom to express themselves. It is about inclusion and celebrating diversity, difference and who we are. Pride helps us measure our steps toward equality. It is where and when we can see the future of our community and be proud of who we are.