Sunday, June 30, 2013

hello: pride

Happy Pride y'all!

As Pride 2013 comes to a close I find myself, unsurprisingly perhaps, reflecting on what "pride" means to me.

Though I don't often turn to wikipedia as my go-to research tool, I thought a more crowd-sourced definition on pride might be a nice start. This was an interesting little tidbit:

With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or another's choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

Feeling of belonging, eh? To be honest, it's never been easy until recently to talk about my queerness, so for me most of my past pride celebrations have been more about a feeling of not belonging, a feeling of otherness and outsider status. Did dating men make me a traitor to the community? Did deeply identifying as queer rather than gay/lesbian/dyke make me less than? Past prides I've felt like I was looking in on a world that wasn't quite mine.

This year I decided to just show up and see how it felt. After all, I've been lucky enough to have loved a lot of wonderful people in my life: men & women. I've had my heart broken by people from all across the gender spectrum (lucky me). I've advocated for the rights of LGBTQ people for much of my adult life and spoken up when it felt like the right, even if not easy, thing to do. I've been schooled by people who don't understand my brand of queerness and I've schooled people who think they get to decide what to call me. It's an evolving identity and so when I showed up this year for pride that is what I was proud of: my long-time-coming-(still-developing)-okayness-with-myself.

Pride for me is self-respect and self-acceptance, no matter who you find yourself becoming.

What does "pride" mean to you? What are you proud of?

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