How My First Pride Relieved Me of My Inner Saboteur

For some, dismantling inner shame is the biggest Pride event of them all
jordan.curriejordan.currie
Jun. 9, 2020
campaign, cherie
Banner photo credit: Jeremy BlandCherie is an online community of beauty lovers sharing their stories; whether that's their favorite products, makeup tutorials, or skincare routines. Download the app today to be a part of #BeautyWithoutBarriers and show the world what beauty means to you!June after June, people dressed in rainbows and glitter would pass me on the streets of Toronto or ride the subway next to me as they made their way to Pride festivities. I’d observe them with a jealous hesitancy, like a child too afraid to leap into the deep end of a pool—not out of resentment, but out of the itching yearning to know what going to Pride would be like. Most of my close friends are bisexual, but the word itself bewildered me—even left me somewhat freaked out—when I thought of applying it to myself in high school. Back then, I concluded that my attraction towards women was nothing more than “a phase” before I had any chance to entertain it. Imposter Syndrome and Self-Suppression It wasn’t until I got to university where I became comfortable accepting that bisexual is exactly what I was, and while that fear of the word vanished, my self-suppression was harder to shake. I knew what stereotypes were placed onto bi people: being accused of “faking it” or “picking a side” were anxieties I carried. Come each June, it was difficult to imagine myself at Pride without feeling like an imposter. I had no dating experience, and if the biphobia I’d been fed my whole life convinced me I wasn’t queer enough, why expect others to?A Wake Up Call In Self ConfidenceThen, it was the summer of 2019. I was 21 on the subway with my friends dressed in pink, purple, and blue, just like the kids I’d watched in awe for years, on our way to my very first Pride. It was a lights festival that took place a few weeks before the main parade. We congregated with a group of other bisexuals and marched down Church and Wellesley in Toronto, illuminating the night sky with glow sticks. I was surrounded by people with hand painted signs and queer pins on their jackets, and right then, nobody needed to know my history with my relationship to sexuality or lack of dating experience. We were all there for the same reason: to celebrate. My self-sabotaging still gets the best of me sometimes. Not feeling enough creeps back in like an old toxic friend. Perhaps the reason why I put off Pride for so many years was because I didn’t yet know what Pride meant for myself. It’s something I will likely have to grapple with for the rest of my life. But if there was a cheesy after-school-special message I left with after my first Pride, it was that I couldn’t keep waiting to be granted permission to my own identity. There are no prerequisites to being you. Pride looks different for everyone and should not be centered only around parades or selling rainbow merchandise in June. Pride is every day. Pride lives in holding your partner’s hand in public, in standing up to homophobic and transphobic family members at the dinner table, in using the privileges you have to support other marginalized communities, and in the simple acknowledgment that you are queer and valid.
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