Pride is a month long celebration of the LGBT+ community. The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. Pride month also serves to bring awareness to LGBT+ issues around the world, including the criminalization of being gay in many countries. We contacted a few people we know embody the meaning of pride, and asked them three questions:
1. What does pride mean to you?
2. How did you have the courage to come out and how it’s felt since/how has your life changed?
3. What’s the best part of pride/how did you style yourself for the festivities?
Gabby Anders (@gabriella.anders)
For me, Pride is celebrating the entire LGBTQIA community which has been mistreated and not acknowledged for years. It’s allowing everyone to be who they are, love who they love and express themselves however they feel they should be. Pride is the feeling of coming out after hiding who you are your entire life, and that was the entire vibe of the weekend. It means supporting one another and realizing that our sexual orientation or gender identity is just as valid as anyone else’s.
I had the courage to come out mostly because I couldn’t keep living without being who I was, and I wanted to find love and have everyone know it. It definitely helped once I started dating and became more confident and comfortable with my sexuality. I also came out to a few close friends, then expanded as I received such immense support. I finally was able to come out to my family because I realized I wanted them to know and understand who I am. Since coming out, I have stopped struggling with an eating disorder, and I immediately felt extremely free and liberated. I live life fearlessly being who I am which I was unable to do in the past. I have helped others come to terms with their sexuality, and I have been able to be an advocate for the LGBTQIA community. I couldn’t imagine being in the closet and not living with the freedom and strength that I have today.
The best part of Pride was walking past couples and families who were able to kiss in public or show their love and be unafraid to do so. Pride was amazing, but this is how it should always be. No one should be afraid to be out in public with the person they love. It was also awesome to see all of the fashions and the way others chose to express themselves: especially seeing how happy they are. You’d only see such crazy, eccentric looks at Pride! On the first day, I went for a festival look and wore a rainbow crochet top with a rainbow sticker by my cleavage, a brown button up skirt, white doc Martin’s (because it was a lot of walking) and sparkles from head to toe. That night I wore a mesh feminist shirt with a bralette underneath and colorful high waisted pants with huge black velvet pumps to go out to parties. The next day I dressed more relaxed in a T-shirt dress with a rainbow on it that said Love Wins. I wore some rainbow buttons, a rainbow bucket hat, red sunglasses, rainbow wristbands, and doc Martin’s again. The first day was the parade and second day was the festival.
Chris Mitchell (@chrismxtchell)
Pride to me is really important because I’ve only been out for about three years. I’ve never been to the parade because I’m still a little too young in my opinion, but having representation in public makes me feel valid. Pride to me means being my absolute self, and it’s become extremely important to me not to hide any part of me from anybody.
2) I came out to my mom New Year’s Eve when I was 14; she was completely supportive and from there I slowly told my close friends. I kept it from my dad for a while because my parents were divorced, and actually only came out officially to him a little over a month ago. Coming out to my dad was a major milestone for me, because my boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year and before recently I’ve felt like I’ve had to hide my relationship from him which wedged a gap between us. Since I’ve come out to my dad, everything has been so much easier. I don’t feel as if I have to put a face on when I’m with him and I finally introduced him to Zach, my boyfriend. Last week, actually, my dad met Zach for the first time and we went out on our boat together. The picture I posted on Instagram is even more important to me because we took it the night my dad met Zach, so it all really comes full circle.
Pride means love for being who you are.
I don’t remember not wearing a dress: that was too long ago. The following response is from his sister, who manages his Instagram account. He doesn’t really remember a time where he conformed to society because he started wearing dresses when he was old enough to tell us that’s what he wanted to wear. when he was 2 years old he watched frozen and loved Elsa. he tied a blanket on his head to have her long hair and made dresses out of pillowcases or my old tops. my mom bought him a real Elsa dress but he only wore it around the house. When he was 3 we got him his first real dress and he never wanted to take it off. He slowly started wearing more “girl” clothes and less “boy”. He doesn’t like pink or frilly butterfly type clothes that most little girls like. he has more of a “high fashion” style. He only wants to wear gold black or grey. He wants to be a fashion designer and drag queen when he’s older. he spoke on NPR and other local organizations and school board meetings. He loves being an advocate and we never force him to do anything he doesn’t want. Sometimes he wants to speak at things and sometimes he’d rather stay home in his pj's watching you tube videos.
My favorite part was dancing in the parade because everyone was accepting and nice. I wore a gold top with a red skirt bathing suit on the bottom and a big rainbow tutu skirt.
Schyler Conaway (@schylerconaway)
To me, Pride is about self-love and celebration. We’ve heard it said before, “how can you hope to love someone else if you can’t love yourself?” There also exists the inverse of that, “how can you hope for someone to love you if YOU don’t love you!?” I think the idea of Pride addresses just that. Regardless of your orientation, gender or sexual identity, truly loving and celebrating who you are and what you bring to this world.
Coming out for me was the product of metaphorically needing to breathe. That may sound crazy, but not being honest with the people closest to me...that was heavy. I had come to be honest to myself, but I was lying to everyone else. At times, the weight seemed so extreme that I actually felt like I couldn’t breathe. Coming out was born of necessity. That was no way to live. I needed to breathe. As a result, I have only found deeper connection and foundation in the relationships with the people whom mean the most to me.
I think the most powerful part of Pride is the encouragement of expression. People become artists and you see them dressing themselves in a way that helps them to best express who they are!! There are no fashion faux pas or rules! Wear what you wanna wear and BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE! Seeing both the self-expression and the beautiful reception on such a grand scale is pretty beautiful.
Troy Todd (@thetrojanprince)
Pride is just having the freedom to be yourself and be unapologetic.
I just got tired of not being myself and pretending. My family hated me for awhile so it was hard. But they have learned to love me again. It changed my life because I was able to be me. It was hard trying to be like other people.
The best part of pride is getting together and showing the world we are here to stay so love us. And I colored my hair rainbow this year. It has been inspiring to a lot of people.