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Take Pride in You

Take Pride in You

Emma Knox

     My brother died from AIDS. Well, my stepbrother. He was gay. He loved me and although I was small, I loved him too. And although the rest of the world was big, they hated him. They might still. It sets my stomach on fire. It sets me on fire.

     I hate to start so bleak, but sometimes, it’s important- so many beautiful things started out ugly, like cheeseburgers, democracy, Benjamin Button; and the LGBTQIA+ community is no different. Pride, without a doubt, had bleak beginnings.

     And even now, there are bleak days, bleak moments, encounters and events people desperately want to forget. For some people, those encounters, that hatred and discrimination, that downright ugliness, shapes their lives. For others, merely the fear of it shapes them.

     But every year, things get a little better. And it’s 2021, and we’re far from a loving and accepting utopia, but damn if we aren’t closer than we’ve ever been before.

     There are queer people represented in media! There are television shows following the lives of transgender people, romantic reality shows with lesbian and gay couples, commercials featuring drag queens, queer models on magazine covers! For the first time in our history, the LGBTQIA+ community is being represented. For the first time in our history, queer kids can turn on their TV, laptop, phone and see people like them.

     Still yet, there’s a severe lack of inclusivity. Example A, a classic: sex education in schools. Example B: gender-divided activities (usually forcing non-cisgender people to stand with their birth sex). Example C: disregard of pronouns. Example D: discrimination in work and school. Example E: discrimination in sports, military, competitions, etc. I could continue, but I’ll stop myself here. Every day, for many, is a fight for equal rights. And one day, hopefully one day soon, we’ll get there.

     The pride flag, an iconic rainbow, has been around for over 40 years, but every year, it evolves. Originally, it was a rainbow of six colors: red, life; orange, healing; yellow, sunlight; green, nature; blue, harmony; and purple, spirit. Now, there are 20+ different flags to represent different sectors of the LGBTQIA+ community, most encompassed in the newest “progress pride flag,” updated by Valentino Vecchietti in 2021 (which also includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized queer people of color, pastel blue and pink stripes to represent the trans community, and a purple circle to represent intersex people). There’s even a flag designed for allies- who saw that coming?

     Roughly five percent of people identify as LGBTQIA+– at least, according to polls. We all know polls rarely include the entire number (because not everybody is ready to admit how they identify) (because it’s a spectrum) (and because polls have a large margin of error), so it’s likely greater than five percent… meaning if you’re in a room with twenty people, at least one (often more) person identifies as something other than straight or cisgender; if you’re in a room with forty, and you’re LGBTQIA+, you can be comforted knowing you likely aren’t alone.

     I have a lifetime of words to say on this, on pride and the like, but unfortunately, I’m limited. So let me sum it up.

     People in the LGBTQIA+ community are discriminated against, marginalized, judged, mistreated, and ignored. LGBTQIA+ youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than straight, cisgender youth, and 40% of transgender adults have reported having made a suicide attempt. They are hated by some, loved by some, and misunderstood by many.

     BUT people in this community, this beautiful and accepting and warm community, should love themselves all the same. It’s hard to love yourself, to truly accept yourself for all that you are, sometimes especially hard for LGBTQIA+ people, but it’s important and necessary and deserved. You are who you are and that’s all there is. NobleCanni is here to stand behind you. Take pride in you.

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Emma Knox

To read more of my work (or learn more about me), go to emmaknox.com.

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