5 reasons you should care about – and be a part of – Pride
- Posted on June 6, 2018
- Estimated reading time 5 minutes
The question always seems to come up in conversation around this time of year. Why do I take part in Pride?
From the outside, Pride Month could look like one giant party (and I won’t lie – it’s quite the experience). Having taken part in Pride every year for almost 10 years, I’ve come to notice a change. That change being my priorities. At the heart of it, Pride represents so much more than what I perhaps thought it did when I witnessed my first Pride event in Chicago almost a decade ago.
After reflecting on Pride, here are five reasons why I think it’s important.
1. Be a visible part of history
In a time when rights are being challenged – and in some cases revoked or dismantled -– Pride presents us with an opportunity to challenge infringements on those rights and to stand together to continue to fight for equality. In a political climate that seems to foster intolerance, it is more important than ever to be the faces and voices of a battle that has long been fought.
It’s a fight to simply love the person you love without restraint or hesitation, without having to hide from the opposition, without having to hide who you truly are. As we’ve seen all over the world, our visibility and our voices have the power to influence the status quo. If we stand up and use our voices – together – we can continue to carry that power to progress forward.
2. Come together as a community
Speaking of together, the LGBT+ community and our allies are a prime of example of what it means to “come together as a community.” Collectively, the community has overcome obstacles that, at one point or another, seemed insurmountable. Consider same-sex marriage, one of the largest and more recent highlights, and how it’s sweeping the globe slowly but surely. Pride is a time for us to remember the fights for equality and the struggles to get to where we are today, and continue to fight to maintain progress moving forward.
Or what about those small things. Pride is also a time to grow and strengthen our community – LGBT+ and allies alike. There was a silly little moment recently where I had the chance to not only get together with friends but also bring co-workers along to an event at a local LGBT+ owned business that I attend every week. Bringing my professional life into my personal life and sharing my own inner-workings was extremely enlightening.
It’s truly an amazing feeling when you can share something so small about yourself, those little things that add up to truly create the definition of who you are as a person. Ultimately, being together and coming together – whether it be to advocate or to celebrate – is how we can create opportunities not only to share but to learn from each other.
3. Change hearts and challenge minds
In the wise words of RuPaul, “Change the world, change your mind.” To truly change hearts and ultimately change minds, you have to connect with someone. And to be honest, I think we as a society are challenged to do so. Ultimately, insensitivities toward others come from a lack of understanding and a lack of sharing common experiences. Sharing a common experience is one of the simplest ways to gain a bond, which, at least from my perspective as a gay man, is a large component of what has brought me together with many of the individuals in my life.
Consider the last time you shared a personal story with your co-worker, or maybe even a complete stranger. What did you talk about – were you sharing an experience that affected you or about something near and dear to you? More likely than not there was an element in that connection that allowed you to open up with another person. Those small, instantaneous connections that we can share show our capacity to create bonds with others around us. But the question is: Are you willing to allow yourself to open up, are you receptive to those around you?
4. A chance to inspire others
The stories of our LGBT+ family and allies can transcend time and distance. With the stories we share with those around us, we’re able to inspire and impact others who may or may not have had a similar experience to the one we’re telling. If we choose not to tell our stories, or if we choose not to share who we are, we lose the opportunity to not only be our authentic selves, but we also lose the opportunity to encourage others to live out loud. By choosing to inspire others, we can cultivate and continue to foster the creativity that comes from organic sharing.
And speaking of ¬– Pride allows for some pretty amazing displays of creativity. I’m sure you didn’t realize there were so many uses for something as simple as a rainbow, did you?
This one goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Pride is a time to show and express love – to let love flow with freedom and without limit. Whether that be with your partner, your best friend or a group of friends, your colleagues, your family or your chosen family, Pride is a celebration for all of us to join in.
This season, remember that in a world where there are still those who deny certain types of people exist; in a world where beliefs are ranked above rights; in a world where equality is variable and not a constant – stay true to who you are and stay true in finding your own #powerinpride. Happy Pride!
“our visibility and our voices have the power to influence the status quo”
Thanks Christopher for a great heartfelt story.
Elizabeth Derby @elizabeth_derby
Christopher, thanks for your thoughtful article and your leadership. It's been great to see how we commemorate Pride. Sharing stories and connections is critical to changing hearts and ultimately changing mindsets - as you so aptly highlight.
Thank you for sharing this! Excellent points!