Guest Post: Young LGBT voices: What does pride mean to you? - Nik Peet

Nik Peet is a 20 year old  cosmetology student and a regional intern with Texas GSA network. In 2011 Nik launched a successful campaign to allow the Gay-Straight Alliance to meet at Flour Bluff HIgh School in Texas.

Hello beautiful people, Nik Peet here! I’m super excited and honored that folks from GLAAD asked me to write a blog post. Especially since it’s about pride month! I absolutely love this time of year – not only for the celebrations, parades, and festivals – but because of what’s behind all of the celebrations, parades, and festivals. Unfortunately I’ve never had the pleasure of attending a pride event, but up until a few years ago, I didn’t really know anything behind the flashy parade floats and parties.

In June of 1970, the first pride parade was put on in New York. It commemorated the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. (The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. The uprising started between the LGBT folks at the bar and the New York police after one of several raids of the bar and lasted almost a week.) The next year activists put on the “Christopher St. Gay Liberation Day March,” as the bar was on Christopher St.

Overall pride parades and celebrations of the like are a safe space where you can go be yourself and have fun. But at the same time they offer much more than fun. They’re great for teaching folks young and old about the history of our movement, where we’ve come from and where we’re going as we keep marching towards equality. There you can meet and learn about other LGBT organizations in or around your city. It’s also a great way to get out and meet new people. You can find out more information on current events that are happening in your city, or just news in general. Whether it be legislation, marches, more on the LGBT movement, next week’s drag show or anything in between, really. Learning more about what’s going on in your area and in the world is great because it can open up dialogue and create discussion – which are the first crucial ways to begin and accomplish change. It can be a great way to bring, and meet new straight allies too. By showing how loving and accepting our community is, and maybe even dismissing some of their reservations, or prejudices towards LGBT folks, and have them even join us in our fight.

Pride is a way to show visibility for our people. For some, it can be an escape, depending on their situation. For other’s it’s just an event you can go to, to kick up your heels and have a good time – which really it should be for everyone. It’s a place you can go and feel like you’re a part of something, and that you’re not alone.

So whether you’re going to get away, to learn, meet new people, have a good time, or just see some really fierce drag queens on beautiful floats (because let’s face it, who isn’t going for the queens?) Be loud, and look louder. If you want to sparkle like you rolled through the craft store, do it! If you want to dress down and be comfy, do that! Some of us may only get the day of the parade/week to completely be themselves. If you’re one of those people – or even if you’re not – don’t be afraid to go all out and show your true colors. Oh – but don’t forget the sun block! Now go get ‘em, and have a blast. Most importantly don’t forget to werrrq!