The word pride invokes a different feeling in every person who hears it. For me, I used to think about the feelings I felt while I was coming out of the closet.
When I first came out to my family as a lesbian, I did it via Google Doc. I included references, video links, even citations, as if I needed proof to make it real. I feel most comfortable behind my written words, and had never felt particularly brave owning my identity in public. “What if I’m doubted because I’ve dated men?” “What if I really am just a confused 20-something?” Though I felt more aligned with my true self than ever, it still felt conditional, able to be disintegrated with the slightest hint of doubt from others.
It was around this time that I began watching the show Pose on Netflix. The series follows New York’s late-1980’s LGBTQ Black and Latinx ballroom community, and immediately I was entranced by the character Angel, played by Indya Moore. Though Angel hungered for love and acceptance, she soon came into her own strength, finding gratitude and beauty in all that makes her, her. As I began to follow Indya Moore themself, I was even more in awe.
Indya Moore is a Black, nonbinary actor and model who was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2019. They radiate a confidence and charisma that I found I couldn’t help but notice, even through an image on a screen. But what is more incredible is their never-ending commitment to transgender rights, particularly for Black trans women, who face horrifyingly disproportionate rates of violence and discrimination.
“When I’m around people having conversations about their day, I’m looking at them, like, ‘What could they possibly be talking about? How are we not talking about deconstructing white supremacy right now? How are we not trying to save trans people?’” – Indya Moore
As I’ve become more involved in activism and continued on my journey as a social work student, I’ve understood exactly what Moore was talking about. I slowly realized how important it was to raise my voice as an ally to transgender people at every opportunity, a resolve solidified when I began dating my current partner, a transgender woman.
“I didn’t want anyone to have control over how people saw me, I wanted to have that power myself.” – Indya Moore
Moore’s words resonated with me. Though I can never fully understand Moore’s experience, being a white cisgender woman, I took those words and began to hold them in my mind to draw strength in them whenever I felt insecure in both straight and queer spaces. When I felt like I didn’t look enough like a lesbian (whatever that may mean), or was frightened that straight men would take my identity as a personal insult, I remembered what Moore went through to be who they are, and realized that if someone at the most marginalized intersection of identities can do it, then so can I.
Moore gave me the confidence I needed to live out and proud and helped me redefine the word for myself. What does pride mean to me now? It means living your truth, loud and proud, while using your platforms to spread pride to all.
The 14th Street Y invites you to tune into our PRIDE 365: Live Free, Love Fierce series, a virtual event series celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community.
We want to honor the LGBTQIA+ community and welcome them to our virtual community center where they can celebrate who they are loud and proud. At the 14th Street Y and Educational Alliance, everyone is welcome here.