To share a quote “true belonging doesn’t require that we change who we are; it requires that we be who we are” – Brene Brown, and to me that is why Pride is important.
When it comes to people’s mental health our sense of identity, who we are, has a huge impact on our overall happiness. When we’re not able to be true to who we are, live an authentic life, life can be hard.
Being apart of the LGBTQI+ community your right to exist freely is often stigmatised and you face additional barriers that impact health and wellbeing, access to society and being treated equally.
I love me (most of the time). I love that I am a proud queer human, but with that comes the additional challenges and fight for freedoms others might already have as a standard. If you’ve never been in a space and had to consider the potential impact of sharing something that is core to who you are, then you’re fortunate. That is why Pride is so important. It’s a space full of people who have the same kind of life experiences as you, celebrating themselves, loudly and proudly.
Pride is a beacon of hope, not just a parade.
It shows that no matter where you come from, if you’re out or not, there are people like you, a community where you belong, that doesn’t require you to change who you are, but that you just be whoever you want to be. It tries to welcome everyone (it’s why we’ve got so many letters “LGBTQQIP2SA”) from queer to questioning and even our allies; all it asks in return is that we make space for people to be their authentic selves.
This sense of belonging, this sense of making space for people to be themselves, is why it’s important that Pride exists, but also that we continue to celebrate outside of the month of June.
One of the ways we can support people’s mental health and wellbeing is by not just wearing rainbows but thinking more about “What can I do to make space for people to be who they are?”
Nikita, Peer Lead for Young People