Be loud. Be proud. Be you.

By Tim Glister on Friday, 11 June 2021

About ten years ago I had a favourite line I trotted out whenever I was catching up with people who had gone through major life events, like getting married, buying a house, having a child. It went something like this:

‘The difference between straight people and gay people is that you know what success and failure are, but we only know what getting things wrong looks like, because we aren’t allowed your version of what’s right so we’re constantly having to invent our own.’

Yes, my terminology was out of date (everyone’s is at some point), and society and rights have both evolved at a rapid pace over the last decade (though some also have not), and these were clearly the musings of someone who might have been single a little too long.

But, the older I’ve got the more I’ve realised how much truth there is in people who exist outside traditional norms and paradigms having to create their own version of happiness and success – and how much power there is in it too.

As RuPaul said a lot more eloquently than me (and it wouldn’t be a pride blog without at least some reference to RuPaul), ‘As gay people, we get to choose our family.’

It’s a statement that’s so heavy with tragedy but also so strong with empowerment and liberation. Because we get to do more than choose who we will love and let be close to us, we get to decide who we want to be, over and over again, and constantly reshape our world to fit the destiny we create for ourselves.

Our milestones might be less established or recognised. But we also aren’t trapped by society’s ingrained expectations about who we’re supposed to be, what we’re supposed to do, or when we’re supposed to do it.

Every day, we love deeply and passionately to prove that we can. We dance with our whole bodies because we don’t know when they’ll be taken away from us. We embrace whimsy, farce, and the ridiculous, as we’re all too aware of how hard things can be without them. And we may look childish when we do it, but that’s because many of us didn’t have childhoods.

It’s exhausting and exhilarating, terrifying and amazing, and it all comes loud, raucous head at Pride.

To people outside the LGBT+ community, and a fair amount of people within it too sometimes, Pride might feel bewildering and overwhelming. It can seem brash, over-the-top, attention-seeking. And sometimes it is. It’s a protest and a party all at the same time. It’s a demand for acceptance and respect, and if not those then at least an acknowledgement of our existence.

But it’s also a celebration of our power to rethink ourselves. And it can be for you too.

However you choose to describe who you are, or how you identify, or whatever community you belong to or don’t, pride is a special moment. It’s a time to think differently, try something new, subvert the norm, experiment, meet kindred spirits, be silly, ask questions, test your boundaries, unbury the things you’ve kept hidden for years, cover yourself in glitter, shout from the rooftops, find some joy in this tricky old world.

Pride is ours. But you’re welcome to join us. Think of it as an open invitation to be loud, be proud, be you.