The Many Meanings Of Pride: G&S Personal Reflections
June 28, 2022
The meaning of Pride is unique to everyone. Even as cities and towns around the country publicly celebrate LGBTQIA+ communities this June with parades, special events, conferences, and parties, Pride also remains highly personal.
There is much to reflect on: history, progress, struggle, joy, legal battles, friendship, family (including chosen family), community, allyship, loss, and love. And now in 2022, the legislative landscape demands urgent attention and reflection given the host of laws being introduced at local and state levels targeting the rights of queer and particularly transgender communities (as well as implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling).
Pride isn’t just a rainbow – it’s a prism. To capture a few of those rays of light, we asked our colleagues at G&S to reflect on what Pride means today, or what Pride means personally to them. Here is what they shared:
DaQuawn Coleman Senior Graphic Designer – North Carolina “For me, Pride means fully loving and accepting who I am as a queer, black male. I think it is so important to celebrate pride. Representation is so important and for me, attending multiple pride events over the span of many years, grew me to be a resilient, proud, gay man. I used to be the guy who deepened his voice, dressed more masculine in certain settings, never talked about my dating life and so on. I am no longer that guy and am proud to be who I am.”
Andy Weld Account Supervisor – New York “Pride is about supporting those around me. Trying to listen more than I talk. Offering to help but not injecting myself where I’m not needed. Pride is a time to, well, be proud of the people who those around me have become, embracing their identities whole-heartedly and being their truest selves. It is genuinely one of my favorite times of the year because of the freedom that people feel to be authentic.”
Dana Ferrell Senior Vice President, Managing Director – North Carolina “To me, Pride means committing time and space to better understand the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community and advocating for solutions that will help address them. It means opening my mind to and embracing the diversity and culture of the community and celebrating its richness.”
Meredith Topalanchik Senior Vice President, Managing Director – New York “This is my first Pride having a little boy (7 months this June) and all I could think of is 2 things – #1 he needs a Pride outfit! And #2 we need some Pride education for my little one even as little as he is. So, we are getting both – a rainbow T–shirt to wear proudly all month and a collection of books including Rainbow: A First book of Pride, Pride Colors and Pink is for Boys.”
Luke Lambert President, CEO “In July 2019 I lost a childhood friend who taught me important and hard lessons about acceptance, bias and kindness. Ken was very passionate about rights for the LGBTQ community, and I consider him ahead of his time as an advocate for change. This Pride month I will once again visit Pier 46 in Hudson River Park where a bench and tree stand in Ken’s memory. I will reflect on my own allyship. I am also grateful for the many wonderful colleagues I have at G&S who drive important conversations and education on diversity, equity, and inclusion. I know my friend would be proud of our efforts.”
Kelli Lynch Account Supervisor – North Carolina “I wasn’t totally sure how to sum up what Pride means to me because it evokes a lot of emotion. I'm proud of the life my sister has built with her partner and children showing the world that love has no boundaries. But then I'm angry when I hear about the discomfort they feel in restaurants or having to disclose to a school counselor that they are a same sex couple, confirming their children will feel welcome and safe. Then it’s followed by sadness because I know they live with an underlying level of fear and separateness that I will never comprehend. So, that said, my amazing sister posted this message today and it said it all so beautifully – so I'll have to borrow from this image/words to define what Pride means to me: Pride is the permission to feel safe in your own skin, to feel worthy and to feel you are enough.”
Stephanie Moore Principal, Managing Director – North Carolina “Pride means being proud of who you are, how you see the world, and the contributions you bring forth. Most importantly, pride means celebrating the unique perspectives and experiences of all humans regardless of sexuality or gender.”
Ron Loch Principal, Chief Operating Officer - Illinois “Pride to me is embracing your personal uniqueness and not looking to a crowd to validate what you think, feel, love, and enjoy while, at the same time, not discouraging others from doing the same.”
Jasmine Jimerson Omnichannel Supervisor – North Carolina “For me, Pride means being unapologetically myself, loving out loud, being treated with dignity, promoting inclusion and self-affirmation. It means equal rights for everyone.”
Brian Hall Principal, Managing Director - Illinois “To me, Pride is all about a celebration of our LGBTQIA+ friends/colleagues and who they are as individuals and as a community. It’s also about recognizing that the support, appreciation, and acceptance evident during Pride is very frequently not there for them – and the essential need for strong allyship throughout all months of the year. Our TDT (Think Differently Together) team Pride Month presentation held in our Chicago office by Miss Toto was a very powerful reminder for me about the importance of a community of understanding and support, both within the queer community and from allies.”
And I’ll finish with my own thoughts. Pride to me evokes many things, but four words come strongly to mind. People - embracing those dear to me who identify as part of LGBTQIA+ communities. Remembrance - remembering those who have been lost or harmed or made to feel less-than or who continue to struggle today. Allyship - standing up for the right of people in queer communities to live as themselves, visibly, and with joy and safety. And finally Love - embracing what it can mean to love oneself and others more fully, without judgement or fear.”