Time to get caught up with another of F.C.’s “June Jour” suggestions. This one asks flat-out, “What does the word ‘pride’ mean to you?” Hmmm…
As you can guess from the end of that last paragraph, I have to scratch my head sometimes to come up of a time when I’ve experienced a sense of pride (what F.C. also asks in that prompt). Perhaps the times when I’ve felt the most proud of myself have been when I made a significant accomplishment. Graduating from high school so many years ago is the most obvious moment of pride in my life… although that was tempered a bit by the future that would await me. Oh, I knew what my post-high school plans were; it’s just that I was scared to death of it (the less I have to think about what awaited me, the better). Then there’s the times when I worked toward gainful employment, especially the moment when I was offered the job that led me to moving to Madison, this after several months being jobless.
But there’s not just pride in one’s self but also pride in others, or should I say pride in being related in one way or another to others that have done their own good work. Take my mother, for instance, who ran her own bar and restaurant for 14 years. Or one of my sisters, who despite no longer having her own homeopathic practice, still cares for others through her medical training. And, of course, my four wonderful nieces, including the one who graduated from high school last month; two who will be entering high school this fall; and the youngest who will be entering 7th grade but is just as gifted as the other three.
But there was one definition of “pride” that I couldn’t shake out of my mind, and for obvious reasons: This is June, which is LGBT pride month. And to me, pride means being able to feel comfortable about who I am — a male who sometimes dresses as a female — and being able to display that side in the best and most comfortable ways I know (e.g. online, in private, with fellow trans people). It makes me sad that I can’t display that pride fully to those I know and love out of fear of being shunned by my family. It makes me just as sad that there are places where those who are LGBT cannot display their own pride (like Turkey, as events from just this week attest). At least, though, that many other people have that chance to live freely LGBT, even despite some difficulties they may encounter when doing so. I will always admire them and look up to them for displaying their own pride… including those who dared to show their pride 48 years ago this very day.
That’s all of what pride means to me. What does it mean to you?