Regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race or religion, there is one thing that we all have in common. It’s a strong and relentless force that can bring us together or tear us apart. In today’s world there appears to be a shortage of it although there is plenty in reserve - I found it in abundance last year when I surrounded myself with a group of strangers and set out to celebrate Pride. The energy was magnetic and infectious without pretense or privilege. As I watched Justin Trudeau lead the Toronto Pride Parade, I stood there with a permanent smile on my face and was overwhelmed with pure love, joy and pride for my city, my country and my family. I had experienced something that left me feeling energized and fulfilled but also open and aware of how much LOVE can make a difference.
Attending the parade last year felt serendipitous; I felt as though I had accidentally fallen into something great and captured some kind of magic. At the same time, it made me realize how inclusive this community is without reciprocity. I could never imagine what it’s like for those of the LGBTQ community to deal with the social pressures, expectations and norms that have been established over the years. Nor can I understand the battle faced by many to want nothing more than to be themselves and yet their community refuses to recognize them. Growing up, gay people were a part of my reality and I had never really thought much more about it. But after attending the parade I recognized that I had only skimmed the surface in my acknowledgement and understanding of the diversity of our population. And despite my ignorance, I was being embraced in this celebration of love. I realized that I’m still learning what it means to be inclusive and to understand the conversation means being comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Perhaps that’s the best part of Pride: it’s an all inclusive invitation. Whether you fall inside or outside of the LGBTQ definition, you’re still invited to celebrate. After all, we all have our pride.
pride /prīd/ noun: a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction about one’s actions, qualities, or possessions; a source of this; a sense of dignity.
And I believe it goes above and beyond sexual orientation and gender. It’s about your values, morals, beliefs and how they manifest each and every day. It’s about how you treat other people: are you caring, giving, generous, appreciative? Are you patient, kind, and accepting of others? At the end of the day, did you have a positive impact in making the world a better place? Can you say you are proud of who you are and who you are becoming?
In a world that feels as though it’s falling apart at the seams these days, Pride gives us an opportunity to celebrate LOVE. If we had more love in the world perhaps we’d be doing a better job of keeping it together. We need to continue to educate each other, to be accepting and encouraging not ignorant and inconsiderate. The real challenge is extending this theme beyond one month, one parade, one day a year. How do we take all this positive energy and continue to be loving, caring, and understanding in our day to day lives? We are all here for a reason and need to come together instead of working against one another to make the world a better place. Call it pride, call it whatever you want, but it’s really quite simple: it’s just love. What the world needs now, is LOVE.
What does Pride mean to you? Let me know in the comments below!