Pride Blog Series Day 30 – Ily Goyanes

614881_396059197120357_24145825_oThe dictionary defines the word “pride” as such:
1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
2. the state or feeling of being proud.
3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
4. pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.
5. something that causes a person or persons to be proud: His art collection was the pride of the family.

It follows that the word means different things to different people. In the LGBT community the word is commonly associated with parades, exposure, and public demonstration of one’s sexual orientation, but I agree with the dictionary’s multiple definitions. I think we all experience pride in who we are, whether we ride on an outlandish (albeit fabulous) float, or whether we are simply happy and proud of who we are in our day to day lives.

11282_486661118060164_127576686_nPride boils down to a matter of self-esteem. Being happy with who we are; whether that means bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans, queer, questioning, or even straight. Unlike our heterosexual counterparts however, we have not had the privilege of equal protection under the law, or for that matter, even the choice of marrying who we love. Yet, despite all these obstacles, we still have our pride.

I was never a Lesbian Avenger in Boston, like my girlfriend was. I never picketed outside the White House, or marched through the streets chanting “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!” I’ve only attended a few pride parades in my lifetime. I have worn rainbow rings and whimsical t-shirts like my nineties favorite, “I can’t even think straight.” I’ve boycotted businesses such as Chik-fil-A. So even though I have not been an activist in any sense of the word, I have, always, felt pride in who I am.

Originally, I came out to only a couple for friends in junior high school. I came out completely in high school. I’ve been out since then, at a time when it still was taboo to be queer, when there was no Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or RuPaul’s Drag Race. We had Ellen, of course, whose brilliant sitcom got cancelled after she decided to have her character come out as lesbian. And in my own way, I felt that just being out made a difference. And at least to my circle of straight friends and family, it did. They knew “one gay person.” And that does make a difference. Being out makes a difference.

904827_522123744513901_425674981_oPride cannot be categorized or pigeonholed. It cannot be contained by one narrow definition. It means something different to each of us, which just demonstrates that even if we identify as LGBT or Q, we are all individuals and we all experience our own kind of pride.

I think pride serves as a big ‘fuck you’ to all the people who try to demean us and categorize us as second-class citizens. Whether we are out in our everyday lives, such as when we hold hands with our partner at the grocery store or in line at the DMV, we are taking a stand. We are saying that we are happy with who we are. We are proud. And proud we should be…in whatever form that means to each one of is individually.

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Contact Ily:
Email: ily.goyanes@gmail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ilygoyanesillmatic
Twitter: @realily

Pride Blog Series Day 29 – Alex Tryst

Cover Art copyMy Family Pride

“That’s my mama, and that’s my mommy,” my daughter always says upon introduction, pointing between my wife and me. She tells people who may ask about her father, “I don’t have a daddy, and that’s just fine.” She is a woman who knows who she is, even at four. I admire this quality in her and hope she carries it with her always. Moreover, I feel blessed that we live in a society where it has become increasingly easier for her and us negotiate the world in which we live. However, even with her proudly outing us wherever we go, the issues of my younger life linger. Rainbow-Superman-logo

When I was a child, I lived in a religiously conservative home in the South and spent the majority of my free time within the walls of a church that made it clear anyone outside their mold was damned. The experience on me as an impressionable teen made me feel utterly alone, so I created my own acceptance through writing, making characters’ lives as I wished mine to be. However, when my brother was 20 and I was 18, we came out to each other one night over a phone call. He was being kicked out of the Navy in a pre-DADT world, because the military was afraid his own troops would kill him on his next deployment at sea for being an openly gay man. I remember that phone call, his terrified voice as he discussed the uncertainty of his future, but he did not waiver. He knew who he was and embraced himself with pride.

I was not quite as strong at that age. I struggled through my senior year of high school living in fear of being discovered. Eventually, I was betrayed by my best friend and rejected by many of my peers just for being myself. The experience made me a much more guarded person, one who didn’t trust anyone, one that never would let another close. These are scars that I still wrestle with to this day more than two decades later. IMG_1186 - Version 2

However, my saving grace arrived when my daughter entered this world and forever changed the way I interacted with it. The hardest part about being a mother for me is the constantly being out to everyone who looks our way, walking through our neighborhood with the three of us holding hands, in restaurants discussing what to order her to eat, and even in line at the grocery store with the way she familiarly banters with the two of us. My fears and scars from my teenage years make it a challenge for me at times to be as strong as I wish I could be for her, but whenever I feel my most insecure, she serves as my model of how to simply be proud of who you are.

With her charming smile and effervescent personality, she disarms even the harshest of would be critics. She makes it clear at the onset that she does have two mothers, and they are the best mothers in the world. She proudly outs us, because she takes pride in who we are to her, and in her moments of definitive declaration, she makes me feel proud to be the mother of such a young woman. Moreover, though, through every interaction, she helps me to be proud of being myself.

Contact Alex Tryst: Websites: The Athenaeum, E-scribblers and Academy of Bards. Email (alextryst@hotmail.com) and Facebook.