What Does Pride Mean to Me? Written By Brittney Sykes

When I hear “Pride,” I hear “Proud.”

Pride is more than parades, parties, or protests. It’s more than promoting respect, inclusion, dignity, and empowerment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. When I hear “Pride,” I hear “Proud.” Proud to be yourself; proud to be out; or proud to be who you are–– unapologetically. Pride is taking pleasure in living in your truth and allowing everyone else to live in theirs.

Regardless of our identities and preferences, we must stick together. If any of us are [still] fighting for our rights, then we are all [still] fighting for our rights. None of us are safe until all of us are safe. Historically, we are such a resilient group of people, and we must not lose sight of that. Our communities have faced many challenges over the past few decades, but we continue to fight, make history, and overcome adversity. I take pride in that too.

In a world where we may feel forgotten, invisible, or ignored, we must always remember to see, hear, and uplift one another. In a world where safe spaces don’t exist for some of us, we must make our areas safe for everyone. In a world where we are treated differently based on how we look on the outside, we must remind ourselves that everyone is fighting a different battle on the inside. I am comfortable with myself, unapologetically me, and proud of who I am. But such freedom is a privilege that some people will never know. That’s why true Pride embodies the spirit of community, the spirit of unity—not despite our differences, but because of them.

Diversity amongst the LGBTQ+ community is what makes us beautiful. But the inclusion of everyone is what makes us so special. Not just in June, but every day of every week during every month of every year.

Everyone deserves to know love. Every human—no matter who they are, no matter who they love, no matter what they identify as—is worthy of kindness, compassion, and respect. And that starts with us. That means embracing each other, listening to one another, and empowering each other. I am so proud to be part of such a fearless community and humbled to use this platform to highlight such an important celebration.

With love, patience, and understanding,