As much of the world begins emerging from the coronavirus pandemic lockdown for Pride celebrations around the world, we asked readers to share why and how they celebrate.
For Cam Anderson, celebrating Pride means connecting with the community. For Donna Billard, Pride means being visible “to those who deny the truth of our existence.” For some, 2021 is a return to a summer tradition they’ve been celebrating for years; for others this is their first.
Travis Bryant, 55, is openly celebrating Pride after coming out to some of his family members in the fall.
“It’s been a very, very long fight. And finally, I just got tired of fighting and hiding and feeling shame about myself and having that shame just spill over into so many different areas of my life,” Bryant, of Houston, Tex., said.
Bryant, who was married to a woman for 34 years, said that although a part of him always knew he was not straight, the pandemic helped push him into deeper self reflection that began his process of coming out last fall. “Like everybody else, I spent a lot of time at home in kind of an isolation. And in that time, it really kind of made me think about the scope of my life,” he said.
Many in-person Pride events in Houston are on hold because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean he’s not taking part in his own way.
“For this first Pride that I’m embracing as an openly gay man, it is more about … reflection and examination and trying to let go of the past hurts and honoring the past relationships while looking ahead to what I hope will be a more open and honest future,” Bryant said.
For others, Pride is about supporting their family. Tamara Darbin, of Caldwell, Idaho, celebrates Pride for her four adult children. One is transgender, one is nonbinary, one is gay and one is asexual; all have come out at different times in the past decade.
“It was very scary for them to come out. But once they came out, they knew they had the support of their parents,” said Darbin, 53.
Darbin said that although her children are spread out in different cities so they won’t be celebrating together this year, she continues to observe Pride in the 27,000-member Facebook group Serendipitydodah, for parents of LGBTQ youth.
“The Internet lets you have a really big support group, even if you live in an area where it's not fully supportive,” Darbin said.
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“I celebrate Pride because so many people before me couldn’t. I celebrate Pride because it means being able to live authentically. I celebrate Pride because I freaking love all the rainbow apparel that I get to throw on.”
— Brian Matthews, 32, Leesburg, Va.
“I celebrate Pride because it’s so important to keep LGBTQ+ issues in the news. Pride is an outlet that lets us celebrate ourselves, but also showcase threats to our rights as Americans.”
— Vincent Flores, 18, San Antonio, Texas
“I celebrate Pride to remind myself that so many people have made sacrifices so that I could have a good life as an openly Black gay man.”
— Earl Fowlkes, 61, Washington, D.C.
“As a young queer activist, I celebrate Pride in order to bring visibility to the diversity and beauty in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a lot more vibrant than a lot of people expect, and I want to bring light to that!”
— Riley Reed, 21, Chicago
“I celebrate Pride because so many before me couldn’t.”
— Lily Kincaid, 19, Lenoir, N.C.