The importance of Pride for young LGBTQ+ people who don't feel represented in daily life

As part of the GCNnewvoices series, we platform the opinions and thoughts of LGBTQ+ young writers from across the country.

An illustration of a young woman covered with pride stickers and tattoos
Image Source: Illustration by Neave Alouf

GCNnewvoices in partnership with BeLonG To will platform the opinions and thoughts of LGBTQ+ young writers from across the country, speaking about issues that matter to them. Lara Fitzsimons explains the importance of Pride to her and how it helps young LGBTQ+ people feel seen.

Pride, that time of year when thousands of people young and old all around the world take to the streets to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. It is a chance to recognise how far we have come as a community and to commemorate the Stonewall Riots that changed our world forever. Pride has a very special importance – it is more than just a party, it offers the younger members of our community a chance to understand who they truly are.

Speaking from personal experience I know how difficult it can be to wade through everyday life in a world that sometimes feels as though it wasn’t made for you. Going to school and sitting through classes where you don’t see yourself represented is isolating. LGBTQ+ topics are often deemed unsuitable for the classroom yet what they don’t realise is how upsetting it is to hear that finding the function of a graph is considered more relevant than educating students on the importance of acceptance. Young LGBTQ+ people are often left to do our own research, however, Pride teaches us those lessons of resilience and empowerment that we need to go forward in discovering who we are.

I attended my first Pride Parade in 2019. I remember the anticipation the night before; nail painting, group chat buzzing, glitter all over the floor. I didn’t think the day would ever come. It was the first time that I got the chance to be me, fully and openly. I will never forget that feeling of standing on O’Connell Street looking around the crowd of joyful faces singing and dancing and thinking “this is it, this is what happiness feels like.” There was so much diversity and support, it felt like a family, a dream. For all of the backs that turned on me, hundreds of faces turned around to support and love me for who I really was. It was the proudest I had ever felt to be me and that is a feeling that all young people should get to feel at least once, that feeling that they are enough.

Something that stands out to me about Pride is the older members of the community. They march proudly with their heads held high and we follow. This is why Pride has such a positive influence on us younger ones, we see ourselves in them and they give us hope. We find comfort in their stories and they inspire us to live our authentic lives. The beacon of hope that they provide for us shows that each day we spend being unapologetically ourselves is a day closer to permanent happiness.

There is no denying that there are unfinished battles but Pride gives us an opportunity to challenge that prejudice around us and have the courage to stand up and tell the world that we are enough. Pride is not just a festival, it is a state of mind and as long as we keep living our truth, we will inspire others to do the same.

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