Celebrating Pride can look different for each person who stands with the LGBTQIA+ community. Its general sentiment is made visible in the month of June, as parades and festivals exhibit colorful decorations with the rainbow flag as a symbolic representation. Pride-related events such as parades, art exhibits, parties, and media events serve to strengthen the community by providing its members with a marked time and place to unite with a larger body of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Pride events were started to improve the visibility, acceptance, and legal protections of the LGBTQIA+ community. While it may have started with a political nature, many Pride events are now more local celebrations drawing large attendance of members of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as their families and allies.
Those outside of the community may notice the June celebration of Pride because of its decorative and performative elements. These elements such as the floats, dancers, and singers that can be found at the West Hollywood parade contribute to the communal empowerment that takes place at these gatherings. However, as a young queer, I believe there is much more to pride than what can be glimpsed on its surface.
As June approaches, I encourage members of the LGBTQIA+ community of all ages to think deeply about how they practice pride on a personal level. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to a party and celebrate on a public, communal level. But I am suggesting that the entire community will benefit from each members’ contemplation of what it looks like to act with pride. Though we may overlap, pride looks different for everyone in practice.
For me, pride looks like not being afraid to ask for what I need, whether that be time, space, or to be called something different from what people seem to know me as. For many, pride is what must emerge so we can have the confidence to not allow what others may think to prevent us from living authentically. We can practice pride on an individual level, by accepting our bodies for what they are or altering them in affirmation of what we know ourselves to be. We can practice pride on an interactive level, and by maintaining our dignity, show others how to find their own.
This June, I hope everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community will celebrate Pride by walking joyfully through the world with it. From all of us at Kaleidoscope we wish you Happy Pride!