celebrating pride month
Rejoice and love yourself today 'Cause baby you were born this way.
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!
Every June, Pride Month celebrates the diversity of the LGBTI community.
It's a time to celebrate dignity, equality and acceptance for all people.
But it shouldn't be limited to one month a year because the issues the LGBTI community face as a whole and on an individual level is all year round. Change towards equality and inclusion for everyBODY shouldn't be something to fight for; it is a right we all deserve - Same D.N.A. But born this way.
As part of pride month, we wanted to shed light on some of the more personal issues people within the LGBTI community face, in particular, body image. Let's be real; no one should be expected to look a certain way, and what the hell does 'perfect' or 'normal' even mean?. The multitude of filters and glam shots result in unrealistic expectations and can be particularly hard to navigate.
Here's where Damons' story comes in. We were lucky enough to go a little deeper with Damon, understand his story, and struggle growing up as a gay man navigating his way through the LGBTI community.
This is his story...
Hi I am Damon.
I have been an openly gay man for most of my life. For the most part, being involved with the LGBTQIA+ community has been one of acceptance, growth and empowerment. However, within the micro folds of the gay community, some areas are rampant with exclusion and rejection. Now I wish to preface this by stating that this is by no means a bash on the Queer community. It has time and time again shown its acceptance and understanding of intersectionality, which is the heart of the Queer community. This is merely a comment on my view and experience within that G part of the acronym.
I am a large, loud hairy gay man. Throughout my life, I felt I did not fit the stereotypical mould of what a gay man should be. I was not skinny, I was not muscly, I had an average body covered in hair. I did not see any gay men on television or in movies with the same body as me unless they were the comedic relief or the closeted repressed jock. Now you may be thinking to yourself, 'well, isn't that just poor media representation?" You would be correct in your thinking; however, from my experience, this stereotype is perpetuated and promoted within this community. Take, for example, a now popularised statement that is seen across multiple Gay dating apps "no fat's, no fem's, no Asians." This way of thinking is damaging to our identity when 'coming out' is a massive factor in accepting and living truly as yourself. Once you let yourself free, you are faced with whether you look good enough to be gay.
When I went to my first gay club, I had one person come and speak to me; they said, "you don't belong here; you're not the right look". This ideal of the physique is seen through online merchants marketing products to the 'Gay Man'. More often than not, the models fit the stereotypical physical look of what society assumes all gay men look like.
Now there is a happy ending to this story. I slowly found other gay men I could relate to who looked like me, were confident with their bodies and flaunted it with pride. And hopefully, with the rise of social media platforms and the brilliant work models do to advocate on behalf of those who don't fit the mould, this narrative of a scared, lonely gay boy trying to find his place is one of joy and acceptance.
Be true to who you are; in your skin, you are perfect.
Why is celebrating Pride Month important to you?
We asked some of our faves peeps like you why its important to celebrate Pride Month...
"Celebrating Pride month is important to me because it’s the one month that allows me to celebrate all of my intersecting identities in a world that tries to silence them all. It is also a time to remember and honour the struggles of those who came before me in order to celebrate myself and my community today."
- Sarvesh, Gay (he/him)
'Pride month is important to me because it reminds it's okay to be myself. As a bisexual, it's easy for me to get caught up in the negative stereotypes and lose part of my identity, but pride month reminds me to be proud. '
- Martine, Bisexual (she/her)
'Pride month is important to me as I get to be my true self, even when so many before me couldn’t, and to let others who are still hiding their true self know it’s okay to be who you are.'
- Venetia, Queer (they/them)
'I don't think I've really celebrated pride month before. Like, I haven't been to any celebrations during, or made posts about it, or have been all that outwardly political about it. It's mainly been internal celebration, I guess. Like seeing acceptance and love from other people celebrating it, which gives me strength and confidence to live freely in my own skin.'
- Jesse, Bisexual (he/him)
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