I can’t believe that this year was my first Pride Parade! It was such an incredible event with so much love and acceptance surrounding everyone. I’m so grateful for my friend Steve and his boyfriend Mike who made me feel welcome and introduced me to their friends. While it was beautiful and colorful and fun, it’s important to remember how it began and what it means for people who may not have been accepted and may still not feel accepted by many parts of our society. It’s been a long struggle for equality and still is an incredible struggle. Stonewall was only 50 years ago and things are happening today trying to erase all the progress that has been made towards equality.
Even though this event was 4+ months ago, we shouldn’t wait for just one month to highlight and support the LGBTQ+ community so I’m happy to share these images now. I’m trying every day to be a better ally and that means listening and educating myself and sharing photos of my LGBTQ+ friends and demanding that our communities and our governments do better. I could never find the best words to describe Pride, so instead I will use those generously shared with me.
“As far as Pride goes, I finally feel included after all of these years of people telling me I was just confused. Gay and straight people alike would tell me bisexuality wasn’t a thing and it really messed with me. Now I finally feel like I’m not “other” and I’m included, even though we had LGBT in college, the BT really got ignored. Now we have LGBTQ etc and maybe in another 50 years we won’t need labels like that if we keep pushing, because there are so many people who think being who you’re born to be is “unnatural” when it’s the most natural thing in the universe to be yourself. I hope that my child will not have as many labels and prejudices to sift through but with this administration it will mean we have to fight harder and PRIDE louder for our place in equality.” - Ashley
“Pride is accepting yourself after years of not knowing what was wrong with you.
Pride is teaching yourself sex education.
Pride is killing your own god.
Pride is coming out to your friends and family even if you fear that they may disown you.
Pride is becoming the family your friends have lost.
“Pride is speaking out against injustice in a place full of people who think you shouldn't exist.
Pride is going to class every single day even though you will get misgendered and deadnamed every. single. day.
Pride is meeting her parents, even though her father asks her "why not a boyfriend?"
Pride is when you keep walking with your head held high after a man shouts "faggot" at you on the street.
Pride is learning the history they never taught you in school, history people will tell you "never happened".
“Pride is grieving every single soul who was taken from us too soon - by bigots, by the police, by the AIDS epidemic, by their own weary hands.
Pride is going out to the gay club, knowing you may not return home.
Pride is defending trans children from legislators and the uneducated masses.
Pride is using the public restroom.
Pride is consuming all the gay media you never had as a child.
“Pride is making your own stories so you can finally see yourself represented.
Pride is shopping in the "wrong section" of the store, secretly worried someone will say something.
Pride is painting your boys' nails for them and complimenting their makeup.
Pride is choosing not to take your own life even when death feels like the most peaceful escape.
Pride is cutting all your hair off and finally recognizing the reflection in the mirror.
“Pride is changing your own name.
Pride is not lying at job interviews even though no one will hire you now.
Pride is working in a state that can legally fire you for your sexual orientation/ gender identity.
Pride is wanting to start a family even though people think you're a poison to children.
Pride is choosing love in a world that chooses hate - a world where homosexuality is still punishable by death, where people tell you there shouldn't be a pride month because "you people aren't oppressed".” - Kalven