Skip to content

Thoughts on Pride

Last updated on 21/05/2024

I didn’t celebrate pride the first few years after I realized I was queer. At first, it was because I was closeted, and well, that’d sort of ruin that wouldn’t it? After I came out though, I still struggled with pride. What would I be proud of, exactly? I’m proud of what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished. Why would I be proud of who I am? After all, I didn’t pick that for myself. I’m just this way.


Then, I remembered how much shame I used to feel about how I was. When I started therapy, I said if I could wave a wand and be cisgendered, I would. It took a long time for me to recognize there wasn’t anything wrong with who or how I was. That there wasn’t anything to be ashamed of.

For a long time though, I felt that way. I’d been raised to believe it. I came up through a baptist church with a hellfire and brimstone kind of minister. I learned that Jesus loved me and that being queer was a sin around the same time that I learned to look both ways before crossing a street. There was big a hierarchy full of important people my parents respected to reinforce those lessons. It’s the sort of thing that’s hard to ignore before you’ve developed critical thinking skills.

It’s not just formal instruction though. It’s pervasive. When I was a kid, gay was a common pejorative. I could see how everyone treated queer people. I heard what they said about them in public and private. To the extent that you respect and want to fit in with the people in your life, it’s hard not to adopt those sentiments.

I spent a long time thinking I couldn’t be queer because I wasn’t a bad person, and I believed queer people were bad. I mean, it was what I’d been taught and how people acted. Digging out of that was a long road. But with time and therapy, all things are possible.

Being Unasahmed Isn’t Being Proud

Not being ashamed is a lot different than pride though. I still didn’t feel proud then. In fact, I struggled with the idea that my experience as a trans woman was somehow lesser than that of a ‘real woman’. Hence the magic wand question; when I’d first started to acknowledge who I was, I’d have given anything to be cis.

My experience isn’t lesser though. It’s just different. I’ve experienced the physical growing pains of womanhood a little later than most. My time in greek life was spent in a fraternity rather than a sorority. Someone eventually taught me about maintaining long hair and sizing a bra, but it was my wife, not my mother. Learning to dress without over or under dressing for the occasion happened at work rather than school. And a million other little things.

As different as it may be, it’s also very much the same. I have friends who were (or are) tomboys that struggle to have their femininity recognized as authentic in the same ways I do. I have a cis friend who’s my height, and she gets harassed in bathrooms as often as I do. It gives us something to piss and moan about. My wife and I laugh about how waitstaff assume we aren’t a couple because we’re both women, but my work compatriot and I typically get a single check because we look like a normal hetero couple.

I Like Who I Am

The things that are common and the differences both form my experience. And, as much as I appreciate the whole, I like the differences. They mean a lot to me.

These days, if I was given the option of waving a wand, I’d pick being a trans woman. I like it quite a bit. I’m not exactly sure that’s what pride is, but it’s where I am now. I’m quite happy being me, and I didn’t think I’d get here if I’m honest with you. Maybe next June I’ll tell you all the things about my life as a trans woman that make me proud.

Published inPersonal