What does Pride mean to you?

June+is+LGBTQ%2B+Pride+month%2C+and+2020+marks+50+years+of+Pride.

Greenville County Democratic Party

June is LGBTQ+ Pride month, and 2020 marks 50 years of Pride.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, NYPD stormed the Stonewall Inn — a popular gathering place for Queer people located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City — and fed up with America’s anti-Queer legal system, the patrons inside decided that they had had enough of the oppression. 

The police were met with an army of Queer freedom fighters, including American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, who pushed back against them in an event that is remembered today as a pivotal moment in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in America: the Stonewall Riots.

Since that night, the month of June has been observed as LGBTQ+ Pride month to commemorate the riots, recognize the impact that Queer people have had on the world, and to celebrate the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. 

The first Pride parade was held on June 28, 1970 — one year after the Stonewall Riots — in New York City, and now, over 50 years later, June sees numerous Pride events held worldwide where Queer people can come together and celebrate Pride with one another.

The presence of Queer people at Pinole Valley High School has grown stronger and more visible in the past couple of years, and to celebrate Pride, I’ve asked 10 members of PV’s beautiful and diverse Queer student body to explain what Pride means to them.

Daniel is a freshman and openly gay.

Daniel Martinez (He/him): “Pride means so much to me, like, I can’t even explain. Even if I can’t enjoy it because of my parents, I’m happy to know [who] I am, exactly. I’m happy I was born this way.”

Terrence is a freshman and openly gay.

Terrence Clark Tecala (He/him): “Pride, to me, means the confidence to express who you are without the fear of what others may think or feel about you. I feel that Pride is a word that describes how proud people of the LGBTQ+ community can be of who they are and how far we have all come.”

Kaden is a sophomore and openly gay.

Kaden Vargas (He/him): “Pride, to me, is being able to openly express [my] sexuality and who I [am], like, it’s not up to other people to define me, and this is an outlet I can convey it in with other people going through the same experience; and just the hardships that LGBTQ+ [people] have to go through, in general, with most public views on what was once so looked down on. Honestly, Pride, as I see it, is not only a time to celebrate who we are, but also to educate those who are ignorant on the subject.”

Nix is a sophomore and is openly gay and two-spirit.

Nix Tiger (He/him, she/her, they/them): “Pride, to me, means that I can express who I am and not be scared about being judged and to love myself because Lord knows I’m not changing. It means that our ancestors who were killed for being prideful in their identity would be proud of us and our achievements and how our community has worked hard (and is still working hard) for all of the LGBTQ+ community’s rights.”

Devin is a junior and openly gay.

Devin Jules (He/him): “Pride means to be happy and comfortable in your own skin.”

Mara is a junior and is openly bisexual, bi-romantic, gray-ace, and genderfluid.

Maralya “Mara” Mendoza (She/her, they/them): “Pride, to me, means be yourself and don’t let people tell you that loving someone [of the same sex] is a choice because it’s not.”

Anait is a senior and is openly bisexual and non-binary.

Anait Aliaga (She/her, they/them): “Pride means unity and compassion to me. Pride brings all genders and sexualities that aren’t considered “normal” together and creates a safe haven for them. It’s a support system to me, as I wasn’t welcomed by my family. I’m glad that Pride month and the Pride marches allow people to express who they are happily and without fear of being targeted for who they are.”

Armando is a senior and openly bisexual.

Armando Cazares (He/him): “Pride, to me, means being able to express yourself in any way possible without giving a care about what the next person will say because you live life for you, not anyone else.”

Leo graduated with the class of 2019 and is an openly gay, transgender man.

Leo Hosley (He/him): “Pride has finally come to mean not just a tolerance of the person I am and these aspects of my identity, but being able to celebrate the power held within them. I spent most of my life in the closet not able to accept myself as a man, much less a feminine man, but Pride encourages me to embrace myself regardless of how I am labeled.”

Paul graduated with the class of 2016 and is an openly gay drag queen.

Paul Aguirre a.k.a. Pink Melancholy (No pronoun preference): “Pride, to me, is the time for us as a minority to be strong together. As people within the LGBTQ+ community, we build our own families, and we have to be strong together and uplift more than just ourselves, but as well as our other members who receive the least support within our own community. Pride, to me, is to empower all those who laid the groundwork for us to live the way we do now, and a step for us to keep that road going for the future. Pride is all about strength, passion, remembrance, and togetherness.”

I’m a senior, and I’m openly gay and non-binary.

Mason Montano (He/him, they/them): “Pride is living life as your true, authentic self unbothered by what the world may think of you. Pride is being confident in your identity and loving who you are. Pride is being unafraid to present yourself in the way that you want to in spite of what society deems acceptable based on what’s between your legs. Pride is paying respect to the people who came before you and fought for your rights as a Queer person while continuing the fight to make the world a better place for the people who will come after you. Pride is essential to the existence of Queer people.

Happy Pride to every Queer and allied person at Pinole Valley High School! You are all valid and loved; and I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe Pride month.

I stand with Tony McDade. Black Lives Matter.

This article is dedicated to Tony McDade, a Black Trans man who was murdered by police in Tallahassee, Florida on May 27, 2020. Please consider adding your name to this petition demanding he receives the justice that he rightfully deserves: https://www.change.org/p/black-lives-matter-activists-justice-for-tony-mcdade