A Guide for your first time at Pride:
In support of a few amazing souls, I am lucky enough to call family and friends.
“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”–Barack Obama
What do the initials LGBTQ stand for?
Lesbian A woman whose primary sexual and affectionate orientation is toward people of the same gender.
Gay A sexual and affectionate orientation toward people of the same gender; can be used as an umbrella term for men and women.
Bisexual A person whose primary sexual and affectionate orientation is toward people of the same and other genders, or towards people regardless of their gender.
Transgender It describes a wide range of identities and experiences of people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from conventional expectations based on their assigned sex at birth. Not all trans people undergo medical transition (surgery or hormones).
Questioning The process of exploring one’s own gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. Some folks may also use this term to name their identity within the LGBTQIA community.
Allyship: The action of working to end oppression through support of, and as an advocate with and for, a group other than one’s own.
Non-binary: A gender identity and experience that embraces a full universe of expressions and ways of being that resonate for an individual. (a more recent term)
Why do I celebrate at Pride?
Frankly, I have much to learn and my mind is yearning to be opened. I grew up in the conservative Southeast USA. While my Southern roots instilled the importance of home, family, kindness, simplicity, and honesty; it did little to prepare me for those who are completely opposite of me. Racism and homophobia still run deep in the South. I’m here to be a voice against it.
I was raised to respect everyone regardless of their differences to me. That has led me to meet and befriend exceptional people! So, why do I want to attend Pride? I want to celebrate with those who have struggled for acceptance. I accept you! I will never pretend to understand, firsthand, the struggle of gaining the rights to marry or the shaming that is felt for expressing PDA with your loved one. However, I have fought for you to have the same rights as me, a heterosexual, white, married woman. Everyone should be able to peel off the labels and be their own person.
Tips for your first time at Pride:
- Don’t judge. This is a day for love and celebrations. If you feel you will be hateful or close-minded, don’t come.
- Don’t stare. If someone looks different than you, and there will be people who do, it’s okay. Our differences are a reason to celebrate too. No one is like you or can BE you! Isn’t it great that no one is exactly the same?!
- To my fellow straight friends, this celebration was not created for us. Don’t get offended by that statement! You may feel left out, out of place, or isolated, don’t! Let’s be allies instead of sulking. Remember, the LGBTQ community have been neglected, secluded, isolated, and hated for decades. They deserve to have a celebration in honor of their love and triumph through these struggles.
- If you happen to find yourself in a gay bar, remember, you are a guest here. These bars were not created as a girl’s night out haven, away from drunken, handsy, straight men. They were created as a safe place to hang and show PDA among partners and people of like-minded respects without the condemnation of a close-minded society.
- Keep an open mind and take a curious attitude.
- Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen if you are celebrating outdoors!
- Have fun! Today is a day for celebrating! The LGBTQ’s rights have come so far but the fight is not over. Make friends with someone new today and later, be an ally of support for them.
At the Pride Celebration
The first Pride parade took place in 1970. June is officially Pride month and my two spaniels and I joined in at the Pensacola Pride event in Seville Square. My first time at pride was a blast! I was so overwhelmed by the amount of love and support here! This is a safe space to shine and let love win.
Even though I am straight myself, I never once was booted out of a conversation nor felt like an impostor for being there. The music and food were top notch. There were jewelry vendors selling extraordinary creations. The space was very dog friendly, too! The energy and vibes surrounding Pride are incredible and I had a smile on my face the entire day. I was surrounded by kindred spirits today and look forward to what the future holds for the LGBTQ community!
“I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You’re not scared. You’re an asshole.”–Morgan Freeman
I highly recommend you join the local Pride group for your area. June is for fun but the months following are where real change happens! Stay connected for outreach and advocacy events!
Be Well and Travel Often!
- Definitions of LGBTQ: https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/glossary.html
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