After being in lock down for more than a year, excitement for the Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors on Saturday, June 19 is palpable. Organizers of the event chose the theme “Out of the Darkness, Into the Light”. They chose this theme to celebrate our return to normalcy and our re-entry into the light after a dark and long year under quarantine. But for the LGBTQ+ community coming out into the light also holds a much deeper significance and this is why Pride celebrations are so important.
Pride celebrations have become a cornerstone of the fight for equal rights and equality for the LGBTQ+ communities. While many of us take for granted being able to hold hands or show affection to our significant other out in public, the LGBTQ+ community has had to fight for their unalienable right to do so. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has not always been a given, and for that reason they proudly march and show their Pride.
In order to dig deeper into the meaning of Pride I asked some friends and posted the question on Facebook: “What does Pride mean to you?”. Below are some of the answers we received.
AJ is a math professor and instructional designer at a local university. He is Puerto Rican and grew up in a military family where he had to hide his sexual orientation until he no longer lived at home. When asked what life was like before he came out he shared that it was hard because he could not be who he was and lived in fear. AJ came out after he moved to the continental United States. He describes that feeling as liberating. When AJ was asked what Pride means to him he said:
"Pride means to me not being afraid of who, not being afraid of what others think about me, not having to wear a mask, not having to live in fear of the choices I make in life and just be happy and accept myself for who I am".
Harrison C. Davies, grew up in Miami Shores, and he shared his story with LivingInOaklandPark.com about how Pride changed his life. He was 19 and still trying to figure himself out. His parents had loaned a car to participate in a parade. He ended up going to the parade and shared with us how it changed his life.
"When I got there I was immediately welcomed by so many people and made a few connections for individuals who would become good friends later on...basically at 19 I stumbled upon the festival and realized I was not alone".
Terry Richmeier, the author of Worshipping Brad, echoed this sentiment:
"Pride festivities allow us to show the world who we are and share the feelings of acceptance and that we are not alone".
Don Vozzola, who came out late in life, shares how it was life-changing:
"I came out 8 years ago very late. My first pride event after that filled me with emotion and pride and acceptance after years of trying to accept myself".
Dave Florida, who responded to the question on Facebook shared how Pride can actually help save lives by letting LGBTQ+ youth know they are not alone.
"Don’t want to be somber about pride, but I always think that if just one LGBTQ young person stops feeling suicidal because they attend or see a pride event on TV. Then it’s totally worth all the hard work that goes into these events all over the world 🙂"
"Celebrating who I am. Celebrating the memories of all who came before and fight for who I can be. Pride is a teachable moment. Remembering there are many places around the world that have no freedom to even express who the are. You need to write telling our young that their openness isn't forgetfulness... The fight continues..."
EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR®
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.
Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.
She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.
She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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