PLUS – What Pride Means to Me


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Every June, the LGBTQ+ community comes together to celebrate during Pride Month

Introducing PLUS

It’s that time of year again. Rainbows abound, parades take over city streets and pride is in the air. In the month of June, you’ll hear a lot about pride. That’s because each year, this month is a celebration of individuality, expression and perseverance for LGBTQ+ people; it’s Pride Month.
So, what does the experience of Pride Month mean to LGBTQ+ people? Well, it’s not the same for everyone. The “+” in LGBTQ+ is all about inclusion. If you’re here and you’re queer, no matter in what way, you belong in the LGBTQ+ community. So, it’s a diverse group of people, and with diverse people come many diverse perspectives to be shared. That’s where PLUS comes in.
By no means does my perspective represent everyone’s; it’s just one of many. But for members of our community, I hope that sharing my story can provide representation and a feeling of belonging to other LGBTQ+ kids. As a pansexual and non-binary teen, I’ll share thoughts on a new LGBTQ+ issue with each edition of PLUS. This week: what Pride means to me.

Finding Personal Meaning in Pride

As an extroverted person, I’ve never been one to shy away from a big event; I love parties, family gatherings, you name it. You’d be hard-pressed to find any large, happy group of people with whom I’d want to stick to watching from the sidelines. Except, all throughout my life, there’s been one big exception: Pride parades.
You see, it’s not that I didn’t want to join in on the festivities. In fact, I would’ve loved nothing more. But when you’re a queer kid in a less-than-totally-tolerant America, Pride can seem a bit daunting — scary, even. So, I’ve never gone. Until now.
On June 5th, I’ll be attending my first ever Pride parade in Philadelphia, PA. I’ve already got my outfit picked out, my flags ready to fly, and my enthusiastic spirit ready to unleash. For me, that means a lot.
It means that I’ve made it to a place in life where I can be myself. It also means that I feel free to express my joy and pride in being queer, something that has long been a struggle for me due to fear of negative reactions from the world around me. At Pride, none of that will feel as worrisome, because I’ll be amongst so many other people who have experiences similar to mine.
LGBTQ+ people have long faced oppression, discrimination and a world full of unfair challenges. Still today, so many members of our community cannot be themselves without facing adverse consequences. So every June, we try to push through that pain and celebrate all of the beauty that is present in the LBGTQ+ community, while also recognizing the struggles faced by so many. In addition, we honor the legacy of many incredible queer people before us, including the BIPOC and transgender organizers who helped lead the way in creating Pride for our community.
If someone you know is participating in Pride, be sure to cheer them on and provide support. Whether it’s their 50th Pride Month or their 1st, it will most likely be a deeply meaningful one; it certainly is for me.