One night in October I was walking back to my house, when on the opposite sidewalk I see a girl about my age heading in the same direction. The first thing that came to mind is the courage she must have to walk alone down a dark street at night. I walked at the same pace on my sidewalk, as a way of keeping her company. At the same time, I thought how much suffering and harassment women have gone through and also how much they have achieved in such a short time due to their continuous struggle, as well as the way they still have to go to achieve true equality.
And that's when I realized that the people who belong to the LGBTIQ+ movement have also suffered a lot, both individually and collectively, and that it was thanks to all the people who took to the streets, made themselves and their struggle visible, that today we have rights and a better quality of life.
But I, who at my age had never participated in any movement, am I entitled to be proud? It was a concept I had never questioned until that night.
As far as my personal experience is concerned, since one is aware that one's sexual orientation is different from that expected by society, there is a permanent fear of being discovered, due to the hatred and constant discrimination that can be experienced at home, at school, or in any social setting. At least during the adolescence of those of us who are millennials (I think and hope today luckily it is very different and for the better) school was one of the worst places for an LGBTIQ+ teenager, daily bullying can lead to very extreme situations. For many, what happens in the school environment represents their whole world, and living in a constant situation of threat, explains why there are young people who cannot tolerate it and decide to commit suicide. Bullying can be attributed to any aspect of a person's life, be it their physique, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.
Luck was not in my favor, and of course for years I had to endure the harassment of others, despite never having revealed my sexual orientation, and that leads one to feel opposite to what could be experienced as pride.
In my home not everything was easy at the beginning, but today the acceptance is more than complete.
All this led me to think: how come I had never been proud of who I am today? Thanks to the internal struggle, the daily struggle to survive an environment that often feels hostile, to the collective struggle of thousands of people who face the political and social system to guarantee the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community, today I can say that I am proud of who I am, proud to be able to hold hands with the person I choose, to live my sexuality freely, and no matter what others may say. And this leads to a question that many heterosexuals ask me: is pride day and the parade necessary? And the answer is "yes, it is necessary." It is for that day and for the above mentioned that we come to manifest that we exist, that we are not part of the heteronormativity, that we are people and that we demand the same rights as anyone.
And finally, a little history, where did all of this begin? In the U.S., meeting in a gay bar was illegal, you could lose your job, go to prison, or suffer a terrible beating. It was in a bar called Stonewall, on June 28, 1969, just 53 years ago, where for the first time people from the LGBTIQ+ movement confronted the police, this being the generator of the first LGBTIQ+ movement for rights in the US and in the world. And this is why on that date the day of pride is commemorated.
Proud pride month.