What Does Pride Mean To You?
It’s that time of year again. Pride season is upon us, and the theme for 2019 is
“Stonewall 50: “MILLIONS of MOMENTS of PRIDE.”
What does Pride mean to you?
It is an innate human need to understand why we are here on Earth.
For those who are already out of the closet, Pride is a celebration of LGBTQ+ rights and unity in the face of discrimination.
We’ve come a long way.
Same-sex couples are now permitted to marry in more and more countries around the world.
However, we still have a huge mountain to climb to achieve equal rights for our community.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people continue to suffer hate, discrimination, and violence all over the world every day.
In some countries, being who we are is a crime — punishable by death, even.
Coming out and living your truth can be scary in a world where we’re expected to conform.
This week’s couple is Joey and Boyce.
While Joey has been out most of his life, Boyce is still struggling to be totally open about his sexuality.
Some of his friends know, but most of his colleagues and family have no idea.
Joey wants Boyce to go to the New York City Pride Parade with him.
Understandably, Boyce is hesitant.
What if someone sees him? His boss? His mom? What would they think?
How Should We Celebrate Pride?
There is pressure on all of us to move in the right circles and partake in the right activities. Joey has always managed this successfully, while Boyce has sort of stumbled along.
Living in a metropolitan area multiplies this pressure because there’s so much going on.
If this is a concern for you like it is for Boyce, it’s time to stop searching around for answers and start looking inwards.
Who are you? Who were you before you came out?
Doing some personal inventory can help you navigate these feelings.
At the Gay Couples Institute, this year’s Pride is about living consciously and deliberately.
So, what does that mean and how do you do it?
Experiencing Pride Month with a Newbie
If your partner hasn’t fully come out yet or came out late in life, they may need your help navigating this often-overwhelming celebration of our community.
Boyce would like to go to the parade, but he’s not sure if it’s appropriate to take some of his straight colleagues along, so he can come out to them in a safe space.
On the other hand, Joey just wants to party.
While you may want to paint the town all the colors of the Pride flag, your partner might prefer to take a step back and absorb everything that’s going on around them.
This disparity can lead to a breakdown of communication. Your partner will probably begin to feel like a killjoy, and you might blame each other because you didn’t have a good time.
The issue is solvable — but how?
Live Out Loud
It is crucial that you live your life deliberately.
“But, I’m just one person,” you might say.
One person can make a difference.
A man from Lyndhurst, New Jersey recently asked the city council to raise the Pride flag at City Hall this year. The council agreed — unanimously.
That is the power of living deliberately.
You may be one person, but your actions will inspire individuals who haven’t yet come out.
We’ve worked with many couples who look at Pride from different perspectives.
For example, it can be nerve-wracking for some people to be out in a crowded, public space.
Imagine how much more anxious those people will feel in the middle of a big, gay parade.
Boyce has his own concerns. “What if people see me?” he wonders.
Whether you’re straight, gay, bi, trans, in, or out, what’s the worst that could happen?
Maybe they’ll think you’re gay — and what?
Giving your fears a voice can help dilute them. Statistically, it’s also unlikely to happen.
If you are still struggling with the idea of living openly like Boyce, it’s important you acknowledge that you are on your own journey.
There is no set time for anyone to come out — it is an individual decision.
If you and your partner have disparate feelings towards Pride, remember that you’re a team. Communicating about what you both want can alleviate all kinds of problems.
Lay down some simple ground rules and stick to them.
There’s so much more to celebrate.
Embrace the fact that Pride isn’t about you.
You are part of it, but it is so much bigger than all of us. Coming together pushes our community forward.
Pride season is a time where you have the freedom to unburden yourself of societal norms and be 100% true to who you are.
Whatever your concerns may be, put them down on paper, read them back, and think them through objectively. Consider the possible outcomes and their likelihood.
Then go out and enjoy your weekend!
If you are battling with anxiety or want to talk to someone about coming out, take our Communication Style quiz or contact the friendly professionals at The Gay Couples Institute.
As you celebrate Pride, remember the sacrifices our community has made and the blood, sweat, and tears that continue to be poured into our fight for equality.
ABOUT SAM GARANZINI, LMFT, LPCC, and ALAPAKI YEE, LMFT
Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic.
The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.
For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit: www.gaycouplesinstitute.org