What Pride Means to Necessary Behavior
Via Teddy Österblom
Pride is celebrated by millions of people each year in order to uplift LGBTQ+ voices, honor LGBTQ+ culture, and support LGBTQ+ rights. Pride has a long and rich history going back to the 1969 Stonewall riots. The Stonewall riots were a series of protests started by Marsha P. Johnson — a Black transgender woman (who then identified as a drag queen because of lack of modern terms). These riots are often credited with kickstarting the contemporary LGBTQ+ rights movement and are the reason we celebrate pride to this day. I, as a Black queer woman, have been celebrating pride since I was 14 because I was, and am, lucky enough to do so in a safe loving environment; however, not everybody has had that opportunity. Here at Necessary Behavior, we are proud to say we have a diverse team that not only includes people of many cultures but also people of many sexual and gender identities. So, today some of us wanted to discuss what pride means to us.
Zoe (She/Her): “Pride is a time where we are able to share, uplift, and make space for remembering each and every person who made the pride we know what it is. It's important to recognize that we should be sharing queer voices throughout the whole year but this is a time where people are listening and hopefully wanting to do better. Pride did not start as a celebration and I think it's important to never forget the amount of people who were harmed in the creation of Pride, especially in the creation and uplifting of pride celebrations. I am a strong believer that there should be no police presence within pride celebrations, as cops were one of the biggest institutions who caused harm to queer folks.”
London (She/Her): “Pride is a chance to celebrate. It is a time to learn. It is a time to not only come together as a community but to remember the people who have made this community and pride what it is. Every year, pride reminds me why I am so proud to be who I am and that it is a beautiful and acceptable thing. It also reminds me of the amazing people who have made pride what it is, fought for LGBTQ+ rights and spaces, and were the voices we needed when there weren’t any. Being queer, I am constantly reminded of people like me who are beaten, killed, and discriminated against for loving who they want and while pride lets us celebrate, it is also a call to action. We must keep fighting towards making this world a more safe and equitable place for all.”
Rose (She/Her): “Pride to me means not having to be afraid of coming out to someone. I am bisexual but I am married to a man and have a son. Pride also means being able to be open and unashamed of who I am and who I love.”
Jackson (He/Him): “Pride month serves as a reminder. A reminder that the pride in us should come from our history. A reminder that black trans women were the ones to put their lives on the line for the rest of us. A reminder that we are valid, we exist, we are beautiful, we are powerful, and we deserve to be here.”
Andy (They/Them): “Pride is a really important thing for me. I grew up in a rural town in Wisconsin, so being proud of my nonbinary gender or my non-normative sexuality wasn't really an option for a long time. It took me a lot of effort to become comfortable with my queerness and accept it as part of me; it took even more effort to be proud of who I am. Now that I feel that pride, it is so important to me and my identity. I no longer wish I was straight, and I would never in a million years chose to be cisgender, or even a binary gender. Pride month, and pride celebrations specifically, are a way for me to express that and remind myself how far I've come. It's a time for me to connect with other queer people and re-connect with my own queerness.”
Bethany (She/Her): “To me, pride is about solidarity. I think that LGBT pride can get kind of clouded by parades, parties, and rainbow merch. While those things are cool, it is important to remember your roots. The first pride was a riot. It is important to remember how the LGBTQIA+ bond together over shared struggles, despite our differences. People will try to divide the community and create in-fighting because they know how strong we are together. WE made change, the world didn't change for us. We will continue to make change. It is important to remember to protect everyone in our community because when ONE of us is at risk we are ALL AT RISK.”
Evan (He/Him): “Pride to me means acceptance. Whether that be in your personal or professional life, pride is accepting everyone who belongs to this community and continuing to educate yourself on how you can be more accepting and inclusive.”
Adam (He/They): “Pride (both the celebration and the feeling in my identity) is relatively new to me, so its importance cannot be understated. Despite being cliche, it is nonetheless true that I rarely felt that I fit in until I found Pride (both the celebration and the feeling in my identity). Experiencing my first Pride celebration was a huge step in helping me realize that who I am is beautiful and I am looking forward to more Pride (both the celebrations and the feeling for my identity).”
As pride month comes to an end, remember to continue to learn about LGBTQ+ history and support the community in any way you can including donating to organizations such as the Marsha P Johnson Institute, The Okra Project, and the For Our Sibs Collective. However, feel free to do your own research and continuously donate and educate yourself past pride month!