Speaker • Professor • Sociologist • Author • Podcaster • Activist

EP 74 Lifting the Banner of Pride: A Journey of Courage and Authenticity

Celebrating Queer Joy and History

Standing there, watching the pride flag ascend, was more than just a ceremonial act; it was a deeply emotional and symbolic moment. As a sociology professor at Hartnell College, I had the honor of speaking at our pride flag-raising event, where I emphasized the profound significance of the pride flag, not just as a marker of Pride Month, but as an emblem of our support for the LGBTQIA community. The pride flag is a celebration, a testament to our queer joy, and a tribute to the rich and resilient history of our LGBTQIA predecessors.

The event brought together students, faculty, and administration, creating a poignant sense of unity and collective support. It was a moment to recognize and honor our community, our struggles, and our triumphs. I am profoundly grateful to our administration and the director of equity programs, Dr. Lopez, for their unwavering support and for creating a haven for our LGBTQIA students.

Vulnerability and Courage: My Journey

Sharing my journey as a queer woman in front of my community was a deeply vulnerable experience. As I delivered my speech, I was met with a confluence of emotions – from the elation of being seen and validated to the anxiety of exposing such a personal part of myself. The weight of these feelings didn’t dissipate immediately after the event; rather, I carried it with me, processing it through self-care and therapy.

My journey to this point has been fraught with fear and anxiety, particularly concerning how my colleagues and the broader campus community would perceive me. Yet, despite this fear and uncertainty, I am determined to stay true to myself. This moment of vulnerability has become a pivotal chapter in my life, one where I chose to live my truth openly and authentically.

Seeking Support and Embracing Authenticity

In times of fear and uncertainty, the importance of a supportive community cannot be overstated. I reached out to colleagues and allies within my workplace, who surrounded me with love and encouragement. Their support was instrumental in helping me find the courage to share my story publicly.

Embracing authenticity and living my truth has been a journey laden with challenges, particularly the fear of rejection and the lingering shadows of shame. However, I’ve learned that it’s essential not to suffer in silence. Seeking help, whether from therapists, friends, or allies, is crucial. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a profound act of strength and self-care.

Overcoming Religious Trauma and Embracing Heritage

Growing up, I faced considerable religious trauma and shame – experiences that left deep scars. However, through therapy and support, I’ve begun to heal these wounds. This process is not just about personal healing; it’s also about breaking cycles of generational trauma and oppression. My journey is a testament to the possibility of healing and embracing one’s true self, regardless of age or background.

Part of this healing process involves reconnecting with my ancestral heritage. Embracing my identity as a queer woman has allowed me to find a unique sense of strength and courage rooted in my cultural background. It’s a reminder that our identities are multifaceted and that our heritage can be a source of immense strength.

Looking Forward with Determination

As I reflect on the pride flag-raising event, I feel a renewed sense of commitment to fostering a more inclusive environment at our college. This is not just about creating a safe space for LGBTQIA students and employees but about promoting a culture of acceptance and celebration of diversity.

There remains an undercurrent of anxiety about the future – about how I will be perceived and accepted within my community. Nevertheless, I am steadfast in my determination to continue this journey. Embracing our true selves, despite the fear and potential backlash, is a radical act of courage.

Building a Supportive Community

One of the most significant takeaways from my experience is the importance of building and being part of a supportive community. I encourage everyone, particularly those struggling with their identity, to seek out allies and support systems. Reach out, ask for help, and surround yourself with people who lift you. It’s in these connections that we find strength and resilience.

The act of raising the pride flag was not just a ceremonial gesture but a profound affirmation of our community and our journeys. It was an acknowledgment of our struggles, a celebration of our joys, and a commitment to continue fostering inclusivity and support. Together, we lift each other, one flag at a time.

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