The idea of pride has been redesigned in an empowering way by the LGBTQ+ community. While still synonymous in some contexts to cockiness, being prideful about sexuality is instead symbolic. In 1969, the Stonewall Riots were created as a reactionary movement against police raids. Pride parades began a year later on the same date as these riots to memorialize its significance. As a result of this now modern tradition, pride parades help remind both members of the LGBT community and those outside of it that queerness is not something that should be expected to stay hidden. It does not serve as a handicap, an indicator of reduced worth, or something abnormal; rather, it is a trait that comes naturally and is therefore something to display proudly. By taking this word that was no more than a synonym and making it symbolic, LGBTQ+ individuals have merged into a community founded on happiness in spite of those who oppose their existence.
I planned to attend my very first pride parade this year, but COVID-19 made this impossible. This changed lifestyle is hopefully going to come to an end soon with vaccine distribution moving more swiftly than it ever has before, yet it has already made its impact with queer suicide rates. COVID’s presence has helped facilitate discrimination, whether it stops at disgusting social media posts or hate crimes. This is not a queer-exclusive issue — Asian discrimination and many other forms of bigotry has been enhanced as well — but I feel uncomfortable speaking on such topics when I know so little. It is important to remember how fragile members are in this community, especially when their yearly reminder of their strength was forced into cancellation. If it weren’t for masks, I would tell you that when you see someone wearing a pride shirt, holding their partner’s hand, or anything of the like, you should give them a smile. Instead, I want you to acknowledge their strength — their pride. It is unbelievably hard to find reasons to stay motivated in such times.