By: Marissa Duffield
What does Pride mean to you? It’s a simple and generic question with an astonishing number of answers. For some people it means comfort, unity, friendship, and having a good time. Others see it as a time to support each other, something we don’t do enough. For me, the feeling of Pride is an elation that pulls at your heartstrings, and that gives you a sense of wholeness and unequivocal warmth.
No matter how you see it, Pride is still a time of celebration.
One of the performers, clad in purple and stiletto heels said, “Pride is what we feel in ourselves that makes us get up every day, that’s what pride means to me.”
Walking around Lee Park and seeing all the vibrant rainbow flags flapping is quite the sight. People wore rainbow flags, face paint, and pride jewelry, which they most likely purchased from the surplus of venders set up around the park. The focal point of the festival was the Drag Show, with drag queens strutting down the stage, as people run up and hand them dollar bills. After the song finishes, the crowd roars. It’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face, especially when they’re people you can relate to. However, the LGBT+ community is still underrepresented.
“Pride to me is definitely a time where we can come together … and kind of support each other, which, as a community, we’re honestly just not so great at doing a lot of the time,” said a young adult at pride wearing teal lipstick and a matching nose ring. “…Even here you can kind of see like there’s an absence of a lot of flags that could be here and could be represented…So pride to me is definitely both a community and also a reminder of just how separate that it can be at times.”
Despite this separation, many parts of the day were about the community coming together in support and friendship. People came out to the festivities to show that, though they may not be a part of the immediate LGBT+ community, they still believe in rights for equal representation and treatment. Many churches set up booths putting out the image that because they are there with a denomination doesn’t mean they think that people deserve to burn in Hell for being who they are and taking pride in themselves.
Despite the more widely accepted attitude, there is still a fear surrounding Pride. That feeling nags at the back of my mind, like a target being placed on your back for embracing your identity. Then you feel lucky when you leave and had a wonderful day. You feel relieved but you shouldn’t have to. Although we have that fear, we aren’t going to let our safe spaces be taken away from us because they are worth standing up for.
Even through violence we still love who we are and no one will change us. No matter how hard people try to take us down there are always going to be people that care about us. That’s what pride means to me. What does it mean to you?