Topic of the Week: What Pride means to our staff
For me, pride is allyship. Being an ally is supporting those around me in their journey of navigating their sexuality, their gender or both. A good ally not only supports those in the LGBTQ+ community, but uplifts and supports the marginalized groups within the community: sex workers, transgender people of color, disabled folx, poor and undocumented people. To me, pride is about knowledge and learning. Learning history and new ideas from those around me who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community is remarkably enriching. To me, pride is doing my part. Speaking up, making space and staying informed. Pride is important to me because my best friends are a part of the community and my way of showing my love for them is to authentically support them in this way. Pride is important to me because being an ally is the right thing to do. Let people love who they love and let people exist as who they truly are.
Being an ally means listening and actually hearing what those in the LGBTQ+ community are saying. It means catching myself when I don’t understand something and choosing to learn instead of avoiding. It means loving and supporting them unconditionally. It means treating them as I would any other human, because being queer isn’t their identity any more than being straight is mine. Being an ally means being a teacher to those who don’t understand what it means to be gay or transgender or non-binary. It means actively opposing bigotry and discrimination in all its forms. It means never ignoring hurtful words, no matter who is saying them, because one person’s words can lead to another person’s violent actions. It means recognizing my privilege and helping others be aware of theirs.
What pride means to me, as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and movement, is giving my support. A world full of amazing and diverse people exists, and the reality of it is many people globally are still unable to be their true selves. In these rapidly changing times of rights and sexuality, in our own country as well as abroad, I, as an ally, can provide my support. I recognized the immense hardship countless people must face in order to be themselves, and that our country, and our world, are greatly lacking desperately needed equality. I stand with everyone who believes in justice for all people, regardless of sexuality, race or gender. I am proud to live in a nation where the LGBTQ+ community has made amazing progress toward equality in the past few decades, though we still have more to accomplish. I am hopeful for a future where one day we will be able to stand side by side as unique and complex individuals all sharing the same freedoms.
Pride, as it pertains to the LGBTQ+ community, is the seasonal rainbow-coated Listerine bottle and occasional queer-baiting in any given Netflix original series. It’s Kehlani’s stud phase. And, my personal favorite, those women on Tinder searching for a “third party” for their boyfriend’s birthday. Sorry, girl, get him a gift card. All jokes aside, the core of pride is radical self-acceptance. And love, of course, but the acceptance comes first. It’s recognizing the fluidity of your self-image and validating your personhood through every experience, label and new rainbow accessory (because how else will people know that you’re … you know). Pride is putting yourself — your comfortability, safety and freedom — first.
Realizing the authentic parts of yourself and honoring them is the essence of pride. Finding community, immersing yourself in the culture and listening to Arca will come as you continue to grow. It’s all about trusting yourself!
Growing up in an extremely Hispanic town, being queer by any means was extremely taboo. I had seen people get bullied for it and kids being openly homophobic and proud. However, as I started getting older and media started influencing the kids around my age, the town had slowly started to become accepting. I have grown up with people who have come out as transgender, gay, asexual and it has been so wonderful to see everyone expressing who they really are. After being able to experience what I have, I had come to realize this did not happen everywhere else. A lot of people do not ever get to come out, and if they do, they are usually scared of reactions. Not everyone has the same rights and the same experiences that I do and that is what I have come to realize. Pride is a word that describes a large population all over the world. To me, pride is a community where everyone takes care of one another. It means unity and the freedom to be yourself. It means love and acceptance. The people who are out openly do not only do it for themselves, but they do it to give hope to others who are not so lucky.
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