We Asked 20 LGBTIQA+ People What 'Pride' Means To Them

We chatted to 20 people from all around the LGBTIQA+ community about ‘pride’, so naturally we spoke about gender, sexuality, glitter and greyhounds.

Note: The language in this piece reflects the wonderful diversity of the LGBTIQA+ community. If you're unsure about any of the words, phrases or identities used, the LGBTIQA+ non for profit organisation, It Gets Better, has a comprehensive glossary of terms to help you be a better ally.

Pride can be that huge collection of glitter sitting in your cupboard, or just wearing a badge with your pronouns while you're at work. Pride can be a noun – heading to Pride March with your friends and family to scream and dance with the community, or it can be a feeling – that sense you get of connectedness to the past, present and future of the LGBTIQA+ community. To take pride in yourself, to feel a sense of self-esteem and self respect in a world that doesn't always feel like it was made for you can feel revolutionary. Pride is to see your queerness as something good, something brilliant and something worth celebrating.

There's been a lot of gay news recently. Jojo Siwa is now a queer icon, Elliot Page came out as trans, Victoria banned archaic conversion therapy and we've got Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to look forward to next month. We're keeping our fingers crossed that 2021 continues to be an extremely queer year.

To get a sense of how people are feeling about pride, queerness and identity in 2021, we reached out to the LGBTQA+ community. We asked 20 people: "What does pride mean to you?"

Kim, 24, bi/queer, "writer and musical theatre enthusiast"

It means letting your full self co-exist within yourself and your world, with the knowledge that merely doing so was, and continues to be, an act of political resistance. There is something so powerful in letting your multitudes shine in the face of systems and histories placed against you. It means I am one piece of a larger story of resistance and revolution, which is empowering and humbling all at the same time. Plus, I love glitter.

Kim (supplied).

Darcie, 27, bisexual, "poet and softboi"

Pride means to me a sense of belonging outside of expectation. The freedom to become myself, not just in sexuality, but my entire self, all my interests, all my creativity. I'm proud to belong to the queer community because I'm becoming a better version of me.

Cloudy, 25, non-binary queer, "Scorpio witch"

I would say I have the most pride in the empathy and understanding of my community. It's the ability to overcome collective hardship and heal trauma through humour. Queer people have to be more self-selective from a young age, because it's demanded of them, and therefore they're much funnier. Queers are funny. We're self-deprecating and self-aware people.

Pip, 25, non-binary bisexual, "solarpunk socialist"

I have pride in the fact that queerness is creating a better world. It's not just discovering things that have been hidden, it's actively creating a world where we're critiquing misogyny and trans-exclusion, and always thinking about structures of domination in our personal life. Queerness is at its core emancipatory politics. That's why Pride March (with a capital P) is both so good and so bad – because on the one hand, of course it's all these dominant structures like banks and big organisations coming out, but on a mass scale, it's beautiful people coming together to actively make this better world.

Kayleb, 18, transgender, gay, "loves animals"

Pride to me means a mixture of things. The first thing would have to be the support from everyone, not only in the LGBTQ community, but also most other people. For me that gives me so much pride, to be respected for who I am! Another would be the ongoing love within the community. It seems that once someone is welcomed into the community, there is so much love for that individual by other members. Whether it be physical love or even online love and support. That's what gives me the most pride.

Sum, 31, queer, "part-time teacher full-time brat"

Pride to me means being grateful and in awe at the work done by the brave and powerful people before me, that did so much so that I could one day live this beautiful, free, happy, love-filled life. I'm so proud of them and I'm so proud of us!

Sum (supplied).

Jess, 31, non binary "butch dyke and lover of whisky"

Pride to me is being able to walk down the street as a very visible butch, holding hands with my non-binary partner, with my mullet and carabiner and feeling proud instead of scared. Scared is how I was made to feel growing up. It's taken a long while to get to this point, but the feeling of it now is life-changing.

Brodie (or Mud), 18, non-binary lesbian, "hopeful future criminal defence lawyer"

Pride to me is the absolute and complete acceptance that exists within the LGBT+ community – a lot of us come from backgrounds where that acceptance is either conditional or negligible. I was incredibly lucky when I came out that everybody in my family took it in stride and it really wasn't a big issue, despite their religion. Equally, I know people who came out and were met with struggles like emancipation and homelessness, yet through the queer community found jobs, accommodation, and permanent housing. The sheer willingness to help others isn't something I've experienced elsewhere, and I love it.

Flo, 27, gay non-binary, "a Leo, your future barber and maker of duct tape things"

Pride to me is looking around and seeing a celebration of individual and collective experiences proudly all together, despite the hurdles. Like meeting all the hate with big gay love, and saying "fuck you!" but like, in like a nice way.

Jax, 20, lesbian, "emerging poet, obsessed with mandarins"

What does pride mean to me? Everyday I feel pride that I am a part of such a strong community, one that has fought for my rights and privileges today. Pride is knowing our history but continuing to make change. Pride is the family we find, the spaces we create, the way we express ourselves in this world and take up the space we deserve. I truly believe that queer people are magical and holy. Pride to me is not just a month, or a March, I celebrate pride everyday.

George, 18, trans masc non-binary, and pansexual, "lover of environmental science"

Pride to me means a sense of confidence and freedom to be myself. I usually express this in the way I dress and wear make-up, something traditionally looked down upon when done by masc people. Dressing femme or masc one day, and androgynous another, gives me security in my gender and its fluidity. It also helps me step outside of my bubble, meet fellow queer people and be more authentic to myself, rather than pretending to be someone I'm not.

Alex, 21, trans masc queer, "frog dad, veterinary student and drag artist"

Pride to me means living and presenting myself in a way that feels authentic to me, free from the ideals of society that are instilled in you growing up. As a trans person doing drag, I often take the parts of myself that made me dysphoric growing up and reimagine them, allowing me to explore gender in a way that is fun and true to my journey whilst also celebrating the person I've become.

Alex (supplied).

Jay, 19, non-binary lesbian, "student and athlete"

Pride, to me, is a belief; it's a mindset, and it's a celebration, but I do not want to be proud. Being proud of one's gender or sexuality implies hardship and it implies struggle. However, being LGBT+ is not a life sentence for pain. Being queer is not inherently difficult. The struggle lies in living in a hetero- and cis-normative world where people do not understand what it means to sexually or gender diverse. It is people's naivety, ignorance, and lack of understanding that makes being queer hard, and so rising above that to live life as your most authentic self is what pride is to me. I do not want to live in a world where being queer makes you an outsider or unworthy of respect and so I do not want for people to have to overcome these struggles. I do not wish pride on others because I do not want my LGBT+ siblings to suffer for something they cannot change. I wish I did not have to be proud.

Kate, 33 , femme bisexual cis woman, "lipstick fiend and pop fan"

The thing that makes me feel the most pride is when the queer community supports each other. Pride is important for queer people because most of us felt such shame when we started to realise who we were. Being in a queer community where we support, help, see and celebrate each other – even if we are different – is what gives me the most pride.

Olly, 24, non-binary, "leatherdyke, theatre dad and dog mum"

For me, pride is a celebration of rejecting shame that we have historically been made to feel. It's about loudly proclaiming our joy to be LGBTQIA in a world that still largely thinks we shouldn't want to be queer. Pride means acknowledging the historical and ongoing work of queer people and activists to secure our human rights and protections, and being proud of the strength to overcome obstacles directed at us from the cis-heteropatriachy. I think we celebrate pride to find solidarity in how shame and hurt has given way to so much love, creativity, beauty and freedom.

Olly (supplied).

Willow (or Blue), 18, queer non-binary, "often femme cat mum and cosplayer"

Pride to me is loving yourself, and not worrying what others think of you. I have a hard time being non-binary as I'm alway to scared that I look to much like a 'girl' or the thoughts of that I'm not trans or gay, and I'm faking it like I've been told many times. So going to pride events where others are not ashamed to be themselves helps me love myself for who I am and help me just be myself! So that helps me be prideful: when others are so openly themselves!

Talia, 30, bisexual, "cat mum, nurse and triple Aquarius"

Pride, for me, is a continual learning and accepting of myself and learning to love myself every day. Pride is feeling accepted by others but more strongly accepting myself and loving myself. I feel Pride when I am watering my plants and feeding my cat, I feel Pride when I'm at therapy, when I talk about my therapy and share things I've learnt about with my friends. I feel Pride when I think about how much I have come into my own as a bisexual woman, but also how much I have to learn about myself. Pride is also seeing myself when I feel invisible as a bisexual in a straight-passing relationship. Being in the queer community is about watching people accept me as an example for how I can love myself. I learn so much from my queer peers and pride, for me, is about showing myself the love and joy that they show me, and loving and supporting them in the same way.

Cat, 26 non-binary pansexual, "skateboarding-cowboy with a mullet"

Pride to me means not only accepting every inch of what makes me, me, but allowing the world to see it and embrace it too. The way the community builds each other up while holding space to be vulnerable is the most beautiful feeling I've experienced in my life.

Cat (supplied).

Alex, 21, trans masc queer, "frog dad, veterinary student and drag artist"

Pride to me means living and presenting myself in a way that feels authentic to me, free from the ideals of society that are instilled in you growing up. As a trans person doing drag, I often take the parts of myself that made me dysphoric growing up and reimagine them, allowing me to explore gender in a way that is fun and true to my journey whilst also celebrating the person I've become.

Sam, 33, bisexual, "daggy, space-cowboi Mum type"

Pride means so much to me. I have only started using Bi identity language in the last few years, and it's resonated with me. Through Bi Pride communities on Facebook or Instagram, I have been able to feel more comfortable and proud of being a bisexual person. I love the freedom of expression that I have started experiencing with clothing – dressing up in sparkles and pink are my favs. The queer entertainment industry is something that I feel so much pride in. I am a DJ, and I love music and getting people to dance to Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Saskia, 28, gay, "anxious Virgo and mother to Brunswick's most prestigious greyhound, Brian"

Pride is wearing my "Vote Bette Porter 2020" T-shirt and getting smiles from fellow queers when they notice.

The above conversations have been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

Words and interview by Dani Leever, writer and homosexual pop culture enthusiast. Find their words at @danileever or catch their gay DJ drag adventures at @djgaydad.

More good stuff:

Seeing Queer Love On 'Are You The One?' Changed Everything For Me

Every Coming Out Is Special. Here's Why JoJo Siwa's Is Unique

Elliot Page And The Incredible Impact Of Trans Coming Out Stories

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