Defining Pride: Part Two

June 12, 2015

In this series of short essays, Diverse & Resilient staff members share their thoughts on the subject of pride: what does pride look like, what does pride mean to us as individuals, and what does pride mean to our community?

Defining Pride - Part Two

Opening a door.  It seems like such a simple act, but for many of us in the LGBTQ community, we may have come up against that closed door and realized what a struggle it is to reach out and simply turn the knob, revealing what is unknown to us on the other side.  “Coming out of the closet” may only be the first door we come up against, and our steps through that door may be tentative, but they are the steps we take toward personal freedom, happiness, and acceptance.  Pride in coming out also means pride in coming into something new.

Throughout history, the LGBTQ community has had far too many doors slammed in our faces–for being “different,” for being outside what many would call the norm.  Often, doors open up to fear, anger, and hurt–making the struggle even worse.  This continues to this day.  Having pride as a member of the LGBTQ community means standing firm in self-knowledge and having confidence that together, we can ensure these doors do not open to hate, but to love and better understanding.

As we celebrate pride this month, we embrace the fact that not only have we shown courage in facing our fears and opening those doors ourselves, we also understand who we are truly meant to be and live the lives we are intended to live.  As a result, more doors have been opened to us along the way.  For example, years ago, two black men couldn’t be seen hugging in a public place–today, it is more accepted and understood.  Recent progression toward nationwide marital equality and the end of DADT are two other prime examples.  We celebrate Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner for having the strength to boldly venture through their own doors and tell their stories.  We’re coming to an understanding that it’s okay to “be you” and live your life the way you want to… and just be loved and give love, from your heart, to the person you love and care for.

We acknowledge that we have come a long way, but we still have more victories to win.  Opening a door is more than simply turning the knob and stepping in, it is making our voices heard, celebrating who we are, and being thankful for the efforts of those who paved the way by facing the challenges before us.  This is pride.

Written by Anthony Evans, James “Jazzy” Ford, & Mark Neufang.