It's July first, and this year's month of PRIDE brougth forth some interesting topics of discussion. We are starting to ask for more around the world and particularly in the PRIDE community. Why is PRIDE only a month? Why shouldn't we have PRIDE all year? These are great questions to be asking, and what else is possible here?
One thing I realize most as a person and a professional is that there isn't much in the way of supporting an individual's right to Pride EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This world is so good at monopolizing spaces, and controlling when people can have space to be noticed. What I am asking for, is for everyone to be a walking talking version of PRIDE every single day. PRIDE means something different to everyone, and if everyone were willing to be it every single day, then maybe...just maybe... we could start to step outside the month of June, and start taking over the rest of the calendar.
If I would like something to change I must first be willing to be it. Here are some of the questions I am asking myself each day to start being a voice in the community and bringing the energy of PRIDE into my life everyday.
What action can you take every day to have PRIDE for yourself?
So often the LGBTQIAPK+ community, along with other groups, rely on acknowledgement outside themselves as a way to validate their experience. We need someone to believe us, someone to see us, and someone to say to us... you are beautiful. Most of us know about looking for things in others that we won't give ourselves, and so I will ask you... What are you looking for from others that you won't give to yourself? What choice can you make for yourself to be the source of PRIDE, just for you?
If you were being you, what would you choose?
During the month of Pride it is hard for me not to take performative measures that PROVE I am proud to be LGBTQIAPK+. I can even say that I posted photos of myself cross dressing, and some of that was motivated by the pressures of creating an image and crafting a brand for myself. Now, let me be clear, I cross dress for me, but in this instance I found myself using the photos to cast an image of myself into the world because it was PRIDE month. One tool I use when I find myself following along with what everyone else is doing, is I ask a question. One question that allows me to be, well, me is: "If I were being me here, what would I choose?" This helps me get out of feeling lik e I need to be something that I am not, and continues to reinforce my right to have PRIDE for me.
What message of PRIDE are you already being that you have not yet acknowledged?
I have talked a lot about action to take so far, and if you notice most of it is about finding ways to be yourself in the midst of everyone trying to be like everybody else. This question is offering you a chance to acknowledge where you are already being PRIDE as you. Where are you already being the message of PRIDE for you and for others? Most of the time we think it takes an ad campaign, instagram followers, Tik Tok Followers, Raindbow flags, a Drag Queen/King to make our PRIDE valid, and to once again determine our value as messengers of PRIDE. But what if all it took was to be you? What if you are already your own walking, talking, living, breathing, PRIDE? And what if all it takes is for you to show up everday as you?
For those of you who think that you have to look, and be, and act a certain way to be PROUD, I would encourage you to think again. Over this past year, and working with individuals in this community what I know is that there is no "right" way to look, be, or do things in order to fit in. Times are changing in this community, and if there was one thing I could say, I would tell you that the way that we create change in this world is by being exactly who we are. You are you, and there is no one else EXACTLY like you. That is the gift of you, the beauty of you, and when you begin to see that? Everything can change.