Welcome back to the Coming Out Happy Blog! We're so excited that you're here. This is our special Pride Month feature, and we’re super excited to talk a little bit about Pride and what it's meant to us over the years. We were having this conversation yesterday, that feeling of excitement, nervousness, and confusion about which Pride event to go to when you’ve never attended a Pride celebration before.
Before we get into it, we want to acknowledge that we wouldn't be here without everyone that came before us, and, specifically, the queer, trans people that have spent so much time advocating for and standing tall in our community. It’s a really beautiful thing to continue to push forward and to see people loving each other and doing the work to be the best versions of themselves because we know that's what truly needs change.
So we have this retreat coming up – our Queer Self Love Retreat here in San Diego June 9th-11th, and we’re really excited because this year PopSocket has so kindly sponsored and given all of our retreat attendees these amazing phone cases. Who doesn't love a PopSocket? Dani’s been playing with it constantly, and it's very soothing. They also sent us the Human Being cases, and they're so cool!
The Human Being cases have really cute reminders on them to check in with yourself, and PopSocket is also donating a portion of their sales to It Gets Better. So check them out! It's absolutely amazing to have these cool products that remind us that we need to take care of our mental health.
All right, let's get into the main focus today. Dani, what was your first Pride like? Tell us a little bit about it.
My first Pride was New York City Pride, and it was the day that I actually came out publicly on social media. I bought a Pride t-shirt at Levi's, and I had only told a few people that I was queer at that time, so I was really uncomfortable when I was buying this t-shirt. But I wanted to figure out how to feel more comfortable in myself after years of hiding who I was, so I bought this t-shirt.
New York Pride is always at the end of June, and I was so excited to go with one of my friends. We took the train into the city, and I was so uncomfortable in this Pride shirt, but I was like, “I'm ready to do this.” I remember he took a picture of me, and I decided that this will be how I come out to everybody that I haven't come out to yet.
I hit post on Instagram and Facebook (or whatever the hell I was using at the time), and I remember that being in this crowd of people who were just celebrating their authentic selves was literally the coolest thing I had ever seen. It gave me so much confidence that I had literally never felt before. We were all from different stages of life and relationship journeys, and it made me decide that I wanted to be known as someone who can step into their authentic self.
We actually ended up walking in a Mid City Pride Parade, which was so cool. My friend’s sister was working for one of the organizations that was walking in the parade, and putting myself out there was a huge step for me. It took me years to be able to work up the courage to go to a pride parade and wear a t-shirt, let alone walk in the parade.
It can be really, really scary to go to a Pride event before you feel ready to like, come out and step into showing up as your authentic self. But what a cool thing!
What made you decide to go? I feel like a lot of people have fear around going to their first Pride. Were you afraid at all?
I think what I was afraid of was everyone finding out that I went or that I was queer and the reaction that I was going to get. But behind that fear was the excitement of knowing that I had already told the people that I really cared about, and I just got to step into being myself on all fronts. I realized afterwards that queer people have to come out a million and a half more times, but I was so excited because I knew that, even though I didn't know what it was going to look like to be an openly queer person, I was ready to stop hiding. I was ready to be able to live a life that feels good to me, and I had the privilege to do that, which I'm so grateful for.
To me, embracing the most authentic version of myself is a tribute to all of the queer activists that have come before us that have given us the ability to have a Pride celebration.
When I first came out, a lot of the comments that I would receive from people around me were like, “Why is there a Pride?” I didn't know what to say at the time, but now I have been able to learn and understand that Pride is such an important thing. It’s an important moment for us to be able to really celebrate and be seen for who we are and to express these different parts of ourselves because it hasn't always been the norm.
There's so much backlash from homophobic people. To be able to still show up to these events and to show who you are and to feel that love and acceptance is everything. Especially for people that don't have their families or don't have people to rely on. To be able to go to these different places and see that there are other people just like you and know you're not alone can be life saving.
Keely, what was your first Pride like?
My first Pride was actually with Dani! We went to New York City, and it was the first Pride that I had ever been to. I remember growing up in Denver, and there was always Denver Pride. I used to feel so uncomfortable every single time I knew that Pride was right around the corner because I always really wanted to go, but I knew that I could never go because I wasn't out.
The first time I knew I was going, I was really nervous and I didn't know how I would fit in. To be honest, I didn't know what to wear! It was really cool to see that Dani had like a whole bag of Pride stuff. I remember wearing bracelets on my entire arm, just collecting more along the way at the event.
It was so cool to just have somebody to go with. Having Dani go with me made me much more comfortable going, but if you don't have someone to go with, go and be yourself and experience it. You don’t need another person to go.
It was such a cool thing to wear the Pride shirt I got for my birthday because my birthday is right around the same time. Dani got it for me, and it says, “Love Wins,” and it was the first Pride shirt I ever got, so it’s so special to me.
Speaking of shirts, we recently launched our own t-shirts for you to represent Coming Out Happy this Pride Month, so definitely grab a shirt on ComingOutHappy.com. We are going to be donating a percentage of sales from the shirt to Equality California, and we’re really excited to see people wearing them for Pride.
Going back to my first Pride, the t-shirt was something that was really meaningful for me to wear because I remember telling Dani that I had nothing rainbow or Pride-related at all until then. I was so nervous, but it was a really cool thing to see people being so free and authentic and not afraid to hide any part of themselves.
This year, we have a booth at San Diego Pride, so if you're going to be there July 14th-16th, come see us because we’ll be in the festival section. We've always just gone as attendees, but to actually be providing something and offering something to the community is a new step for us! We'll be selling our LGBTQ+ Couples Conversation Cards and t-shirts.
Pride is just such a perfect time to reflect on your own queerness and who you are, what you've been through, and understand more of why you're proud. A lot of our clients have struggled with accepting themselves and a lot of internalized homophobia, and sometimes that's why we’re afraid to go to Pride.
Something that really helps when you’re experiencing that fear is to learn about the history of Pride. Connecting with the people that have come before us and have paved the way can help you accept yourself more and understand that Pride isn’t just a party.
We have a place in the Queer Happiness Collective Membership where we put together a queer history workbook that you can learn from and connect to a bunch of different queer trailblazers that have fought for our rights. Pride is just such a great time to reflect and think about what Pride means to you.
This Pride Month is such a special one for us with our booth at San Diego Pride and our first ever Queer Self Love Retreat happening, but beyond Pride Month, we need to celebrate ourselves and our community every single day. How do we continue to grow within ourselves, to show up better for ourselves, which ultimately helps all of us create a better queer community? How can we work on expanding within ourselves to be able to become the people, the partners, and the friends that we all want to show up as?
It's about showing up in those spaces and truly embracing more parts of ourselves that maybe we held back before being more open. I don't think three years ago I would have felt comfortable or confident enough to have a booth at Pride. So where were you three years ago?
At that time, we were still struggling to understand what it was that made us who we are. We didn't really understand how to work through a lot of what we’ve been through, not being accepted, and we didn’t have the tools that we needed. So much work has to be done to get to this point of feeling so much more confident in yourself. You need the tools to accept and love yourself deeper and take those parts of yourself that were hurting and transform them into something that helps people.
For us, there's been so many times where it's just been really hard. If you’ve read past blogs or listened to our podcast, we've been pretty transparent. There's a lot happening in the world and there are things that we can't control. There are certain times where it doesn't even feel like we're helping, but we're doing the best we can and that's all we can do. We're fighting every day to bring awareness to the pain that queer adults deal with and to normalize that you can create healthy relationships. You can create a life and be a healthy queer individual and embrace all the parts of yourself.
I definitely think we can show more and be vulnerable, sharing more parts of ourselves, but it's gonna take more communication. It's not a matter of being afraid to share those things, it's more of just continuing to do it because every day is a conscious choice to be vulnerable and have a healthy relationship. We're trying to create a movement for healthy queer love and joy.
What that really means is that we want to provide the tools, the resources, the community, the product, whatever it is, so that you can create the life that you want and know it's possible to experience more joy in your relationships. We're creating resources for you because we hope it gives you the ability to see the same change that we’ve experienced in your relationships, no matter what kind of relationship it is.
We’ve seen so many relationships fail because they don't have the tools to regulate or build intimacy or build a healthy foundation, and it's really sad because a lot of relationships can work, but a lot of trauma gets in the way. Not knowing where to go or how to be supported or the tools to work through it is really challenging. Coming Out Happy is a movement, and we really hope that all of you are with it. You're here to be a part of it, and there's so many different ways you can join us in creating healthier queer relationships and supporting the community.
You can get involved in the Queer Happiness Collective, which is the way that you can actually learn directly from us and other experts, showing you how to create your best life and relationships. You can practice vulnerability with the Let’s Get Into It LGBTQ+ Couples’ Conversation Cards. You can represent us with a Coming Out Happy t-shirt. And you can engage in these important conversations with us on Instagram, letting us know what you want to see from us.
We love having conversations to learn more about how we can be supportive to you. Please message us on Instagram or go to ComingOutHappy.com to become part of this movement. We want to see you grow and thrive with us, and there's so many ways to do so. We’re so glad that you're here, and we're just really excited to be connecting with you and creating amazing resources to help you grow.
Dani & Keely
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