What Pride means to me

Pride is upon us, and as celebrations get underway, we wanted to get a better understanding about what Pride means to some of our LGBTQIA+ team members from across the globe. 

Eve Mair
Research & Insight Analyst, London
When I was around 7 or 8, my Mum and I happened to walk past or through the noise and movement of Manchester Pride. My Mum utilised this as an opportunity to tell me why they were marching – they were people who loved people who were the same sex as them. They were having a party, they were celebrating. Little did my Mum know that I too would grow up to be gay (although, I am sure there were some giveaways). This introduction ensured that, once I felt compelled to come out, the soft cushion was laid out for me, to catch me as I jumped into the frightening revealing of one’s true self. This risk is something that many are not afforded the safety to do. For many, it is far too dangerous. 

Now, Pride means far more to me than it was when explained to me as an eight year old. Pride, to me now, is a political celebration of every member of the LGBT community and a demonstration of solidarity and support. It is a space of telepathic empathy, a space where one another understands the complications that come with being true about oneself in a world that still continues to reject queerness. It is an opportunity to truly breathe.

Peter Mazloumian
Head of Copy, Socialize
I feel that nowadays when people think of Pride their minds default to rainbow parades. Where I grew up, there weren’t any spaces to be openly proud. To me, Pride is a humbling reminder that the work is far from over. Pride is still a privilege that many in our community cannot afford. It’s an opportunity to lend our voices to those who have, and continue to be, unfairly silenced and oppressed. 

As much as I recognise the need to celebrate all that has been achieved, I feel it far more significant to recognise what got us here; the incredible people who risked everything to make a stand on the front line of progress. It would be a sad day for our community if we allowed the result of those brave efforts to be the cause of our own complacency.

The global divide on homosexuality still exists. Pride is our opportunity to do what we’ve always done; use the collective power of our community to rebel against the injustices of current society. It starts with asking the right questions: ‘what the f*** are we going to do about it?’

Silvio Hu
Account Executive, Milan
I was raised in a closed-minded environment where homosexuality was treated just with scorn and mockery.

To me, Pride is the feeling of awe whenever I see people celebrate, support, and normalize something that I used to be deeply ashamed about, just a while ago.

Tom Bayliss
Chief Client Officer, London
The definition of the word Pride is “an emotional response or attitude to something with an intimate connection to oneself, due to its perceived value”.  Pride is more than a month-long celebration, a carnival, or brands changing their logos to the colours of the rainbow flag. 

You see, at its core, Pride is really about an acceptance of oneself.  It’s a reminder that I don’t need to adapt myself to “fit in”.  It’s the removal of internalised shame. An acceptance that who I am is to be celebrated.  

It’s also a reminder of a still marginalised community that continues to fight unapologetically for equality – the people who went before us, Marsha P. Johnson, Brenda Howard and Sylvia Rivera who pushed against oppression and brutality. A reminder that in 2022 it is still illegal to be gay in 74 countries and punishable by death in 12 of those.

I celebrate Pride and I, therefore, celebrate myself.  But there is still a lot of work to be done and equality to be fought for – so have a party, celebrate yourself, but don’t forget those who still live in fear, oppression and shame. We are all valid and we all deserve an equal voice.

Emmanuelle Comte
Human Resources Business Partner, France

Even though my utopian vision makes me think that it shouldn’t be a topic, I’m deeply aware that my current liberty comes from people who fought for it. 

Pride has often been a trigger for important progress and still is. It is essential for the LGBTQ+ community to be visible, make progress and have rights. This moment is the opportunity to celebrate the battles that have already been undertaken, to start the ones of tomorrow and undertake the ones for those who are unable to do so. 

Any human being should be proud of their accomplishments, proud to be able to contemplate their own definition of love, their own identity and as a result their own definition of happiness. To have equality, we clearly need fair and unbiased rights. 

Pride plays an important role to bring our rights up to standard as well as the resources we can leverage.  By speaking out, Pride also helps to make visible the community visible and to bring up to speed a world which is still too ultracrepidarian.

Silvio Barca
Account Manager, Milan
Pride to me means celebrating our community’s strength and the stamina of being ourselves every day. Pride is the more or less conscious process of doing this not just for ourselves but also for LGBTQI+ generations to come so that they won’t have to go through the experiences we’ve endured, and are still enduring in many parts of the world. 

Being at peace with yourself in the world is a long journey but it all starts with a process of self-acceptance, which is made extremely challenging by society’s heteronormativity. So, Pride to me is being able to celebrate what we’ve achieved individually and collectively and reminding us and the rest of the world that there is still so much we yet have to reach in order to conquer actual equality. 

Pride is celebrating the courage of each and every one of us – our courage to fight oppression, our courage to rise back up again after the ever so frequent attacks. I think cities all over the world will need to be flooded by rainbow flags and people fabulously marching for their rights in front of the whole of society until equality and safety for all of us is achieved. Things do get better but we must have an active role in changing them.

Matthew Malerba
Director of Business Development & Partnerships, U.S.
For me, Pride means strength in numbers.

Knowing my childhood trauma–the continuous internalized battle of who I knew I was against who I was told to be–wasn’t just mine. But a battle so many of us went through.

For me, Pride means perseverance.

Knowing that others are growing up in the same situation I survived and hoping to let those young kids know that they aren’t wrong because they may feel or choose to love differently. This is just one aspect of our life, it isn’t the definition of our life and we won’t hide who we are because some people may not relate.

For me, Pride means acceptance.

Not of others, per se, but of ourselves. Letting our own light shine as bright as it possibly can for others to see and know they are not alone. 

We found each other, we pushed forward, and we’ve accepted who we are so future generations can live more freely, earlier.