Wherein lies our pride?

Text: Dani Fajardo
Cover: Persy Cabrera 


It’s just a regular day. I leave my house and it’s not long before people stare at me. They stare with disgust and disapproval; others stare morbidly and perversely. Comments by the so-called “masculine men” don’t take long, ranging between insults, sexual insinuations and meaningless yells; my headphones are the only thing protecting me from those hateful voices.


Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to conform to this heteronormative society – I would have less social constraints and belong to an “accepted” group that is not constantly harassed, but at what cost? Context and people force us to repress our identity and hide who we are to avoid those disapproving stares and hateful voices.


Why should we be forced to obey all those rules imposed by society? Why should we ignore who we are in order to fit in? I often think about the past, about the people who came before me and questioned the roles imposed on them. Then I think about the present; I see those who resist and fight for all of us – I see myself.


We have been burdened by an asphyxiating discourse for centuries: “You should dress normal,” “be masculine,” “be feminine,” “don’t wear skirts; wear pants like men do.” “Pink is for girls, and blue is for boys,” “you’re a woman; do domestic chores,” “you’re a man; provide for your family and don’t show your emotions.” “You were born a man and will never be a woman,” “You were born a woman and will never be a man.” It seems like norms and prejudices are constantly shaping who we are, how we look and how we live our lives.


It is expected of us to follow the norm, but that has never been an option. There is no greater act of revolution than being ourselves.


There are those who question what we “celebrate,” but this is not a celebration – it is a reminder of the constant struggle and resistance needed to stand firm. It is a reminder of our courage. Sometimes people ask us: “What are you proud of?”


The answer is simple but profound. We commemorate a struggle that broke out in Stonewall on June 28, 1969. That struggle was a turning point for our community, an inspiration to keep fighting every day, and which we proudly remember each year. We commemorate our right to freely express our identity, to love whomever we choose without fear; we reaffirm the world that we are sovereign individuals and create our own history. We remember those who fought for our rights and whose names are listed in hate crime registries around the world. We miss and love them. 


We are determined to resist and survive, to face rejection from our families and to get back up again and again despite the violence, abuses and attacks against our lives. We fight for our place in society and our right to education, health and citizen participation.


We are proud of our identities: trans, non-binary, intersexual, gender-fluid, gender non-conforming, lesbian, gays, bisexual, pansexual, asexual and demisexual. Our pride lies in our solidarity with women, minorities, people who are HIV-positive and other groups – who have been with us from the beginning as a community because there is no exclusion in pride.


We celebrate diversity and those characteristics that make us individuals. We take care of one another in love and unity, including those who are not ready to openly express their identities.


So, next time you ask yourself: wherein lies our pride? The answer is love, a sense of community, the suffering that brings us together and our unshakable desire for freedom.

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