Pride Parades are over-the-top, flamboyant, loud, exciting displays, but we should display pride in who we are everyday, not just during a Parade!
I was planning to attend a massive Pride Parade in Toronto. I bought a group bus ticket so I didn’t have to drive in a congested, unknown city when there were hundreds of thousands of people there. But, unfortunately, the bus, unbeknownst to me, had been cancelled due to low ticket sales. So, I didn’t get to go. But I was able to watch a portion of it on television. The announcers were interviewing many people, asking what Pride meant to them.
What Does PRIDE Mean?
Many people responded to the reporters that Pride meant inclusivity, acceptance, and being their true selves. Not many people mentioned that they associate Pride with sexual orientation, gender identity or fighting for rights, which was the intention of the Parade when it began years ago. 38 Years ago, in Toronto! Most people want to belong, live life the way they want to and express themselves in a way they feel comfortable.
As I was sitting in my car, all decked out in my rainbow wig and t-shirt, I got thinking. How can we carry the Spirit of Pride with us, wherever and whenever we are?
Show PRIDE by Supporting Others
The best way to share the accepting, inclusive spirit of Pride is to learn about others. Ask their name, what pronouns they prefer, and any other questions you want clarified. When you approach people with curiosity, rather than judgement, people are very willing to open up to you. It is through education and understanding that acceptance is born.
You can also show your openness and acceptance by displaying the Pride flag on your car or window, or by wearing an Ally button or bracelet. Even if you don’t identify under the LGBTQ umbrella, you can display your support and friendship in beautiful ways.
Show PRIDE by Educating Yourself
Learn all the identifying definitions and terms. There are so many! Remember there are a lot of “boxes” that people use to explain who they are. But not everyone fits into a “box”. And “boxes” don’t always need a definition. It’s ok to accept people as they are without defining who they are. But if people want to identify with a certain term, please do your best to understand and be open with their definitions.
There are many other books, articles and videos that highlight individual stories of coming out, struggles and successes. You can show compassion for others by listening to them and sharing your own stories.
Show PRIDE by Accepting Others
Everyone is unique, it’s not a new concept. We are different from our neighbours, siblings, parents, friends, no two people are alike. We are most likely drawn to others who are similar and may be turned off others who are very different.
During the Pride Parade, you will see a lot of differences. You will see bare bums, buckets of glitter, promiscuity, colourful hair, extreme piercings and many other socially wild things. And even if you wouldn’t be caught dead gyrating in the street like some people at Pride, you can still agree to accept your differences in the way you have fun in this world. Also, at Pride, people get caught up in the loud, pulse, energy of the crowd and get carried away. It doesn’t mean that the way people act during the parade are how they are everyday in their home. So be accepting of how people chose to come out, get out of their own confines, and live it up from time to time.
To read individual stories of how others see themselves, visit Lesada Community.
Show PRIDE by Being Yourself
The most beautiful way you can display your love, acceptance and spirit of Pride is to go confidently into the world and love yourself. Sometimes loving yourself is harder than loving others. If you can love yourself, with all your flaws and perfections, shortcomings and successes, you can most certainly feel pride in other’s qualities. Shining your light bright enough for others to follow can make a huge difference in this world. Self acceptance and pride in yourself is the greatest gift you can give! Recognizing yourself in others contributes to respect, love and understanding as well.
Be proud of who you are everyday! Share in the Spirit of Pride, even if you can’t make it to the Parade.
Share your thoughts below on how you show your Pride support.