Finding My Pride

Photo Source: Oliver Vincent.

Oliver Vincent – Before 2022, I had never been to a pride event. My friends would invite me and I’d make up some excuse for why I couldn’t go and I’d tell them to have extra fun for me. I just didn’t want to go.

It took me longer than it should have to figure out why I didn’t want to go.

Being proud, feeling pride, that’s a really hard thing to define. At least, it is for me. I didn’t feel proud of myself. I hadn’t done anything to be proud of – I was sure of that.

Earlier this year, I had a close friend tell me that they were impressed by how much I’d grown. They said that it was weird, but nice, to see me happier with who I am.

They told me that they were proud of me.

That got me thinking. I thought about it for a couple days. They’re proud of me? For what?

Eventually, it got to be too much and I picked up the phone. They were proud of me for being comfortable with myself.

It didn’t feel right. I don’t think of myself as a very ‘comfortable’ person. I feel restless and itchy all the time. I feel self-conscious and anxious and scared.

It made me start thinking about the way others perceive me. They used to call me intimidating, but I guess now I’m comfortable? I just couldn’t put the pieces together.

I couldn’t get away from that line of thought. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, it always circled back around.

Gradually, I started to come around. I know who I am. I know the things I do. I probably know me better than anybody else does, right? And I think I like me. I don’t know, I spent so long hating who I was and pretending I was somebody else. But, maybe I don’t hate myself anymore.

I started thinking about pride.

Again, pride as a general term is really hard to define. For me, I think pride is more love for my community than love for myself. Although the two go hand-in-hand. I think of my friends and I feel proud. I think of the ways we care for each other and I feel proud.

Pride is the love and respect I feel for those in my community. Being queer isn’t easy, but knowing that I’m part of this community, of something much bigger than myself, makes it so much easier.

So, in June 2022, I got dressed in my favorite clothes and I went to pride with my friends or the first time. The drive was filled with conversation and laughter.

I felt like a weight was lifted from my back when we fell into the crowd. I didn’t feel so afraid anymore. It felt like I knew everyone there.

Strangers were complimenting my outfit and my hair. I hadn’t felt so much love in years.

Being trans has never been easy. Sometimes it feels like there’s a new thing to worry about every day.

So for anyone in the midst of their coming out experience, it’s really easy to worry yourself sick. But sometimes, you remember the good parts.

You’ll think of your friend who just started testosterone and you’ll be overjoyed for him. You’ll think of the kid three grades below you in high school, who emailed you and asked for advice on coming out to their parents. You’ll think of the friend you sat down with and helped choose their name.

You’ll think of these things and you’ll feel love, community, caring, and you will finally understand pride.


Oliver Vincent is an aspiring writer and musician. He loves to read and write fiction. You can find him on TikTok and Instagram.