June 22, 2017
Eight Ways to Explore Your Pride During Pride Month
Written by Rachel Eddins
June is pride month for the LGBTQ+ community which honors the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. The riots, lead by trans-women of color, served as a tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement.
One enduring symbol of the LGBTQ+ community is the rainbow flag, crafted by Gilbert Baker in the late 1970’s. Baker worked to design a symbol for the community – “an insignia of pride capable of affirming social independence”[i]. Baker stated that “flags are about proclaiming power”[ii], and this post is meant to help you explore your own personal power in your identity. While there are still many rights and protections that are withheld from the LGBTQ+ community, below are some questions to explore based on the colors of the original Pride Flag.
8 Ways to Explore Your Pride
1. Hot Pink – Sexuality
Often LGBTQ+ people are labeled based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and even within the community based upon their sexual preferences or image. While labels can be a source of pride and power for some, for others they can be viewed as constricting and limiting, opposed by others to try to “fit” or “categorize” one into a box. During pride, try to reflect on the role labels have in your life.
- How do I label myself? How have these labels influenced my identity?
- How have others labeled me in the past? How did that label influence that relationship?
- Am I comfortable using labels to describe my sexuality?
2. Red – Life
With the stresses and demands of modern life, it can be challenging to take a step back and reflect upon what you truly want out of life. In trying to balance work, family obligations, relationships, housework, your daily routine can make it seem like your life is going on auto-pilot. However, through exploring your values and goals, you can begin making positive impacts in your life.
- What are my values today?
- How am I performing, promoting, and living these values?
- What steps can I take to practice and live these values, even when it’s difficult?
- What support would be helpful to me in living these values, and from whom can I gain support?
3. Orange – Healing
Many in the LGBTQ+ community suffer or have suffered from some form of discrimination. Whether you were bullied as a child for being different, lost out on a promotion at work because of your identity, ostracized from a faith community after coming out, or cut off from family or friends, it can be hard to heal and move on. Reflect on your coping strategies and self-care practices this pride.
- What do I first do when I feel hurt? Is this helping me or hurting me?
- How do I de-stress? Does this make things better or worse in the long-run?
4. Yellow – Sunlight
In the midst of dark feelings, stressful times, and bad memories, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In uncertain political times when it seems like policies are inspired out of hate towards the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to seek out what you are truly grateful and thankful for in life. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”[iii]
- What am I grateful for in my life?
- Who am I thankful for in my life and how can better show my appreciation?
5. Green – Nature
Sitting on 610 during rush hour staring at endless cars and miles of ugly highway, it can be challenging to see the beauty of nature around you. Connecting back with nature allows you time to reflect and clear your head. Even with the summer heat upon us in Houston, how can you connect with nature this pride month?
- Looking back, what places outdoors have you been that have inspired you?
- If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why would you choose that destination? How would you feel if you were able to go there right now?
6. Turquoise – Magic/Art
Often times we hope for a magic solution to solve all of our problems, be we don’t take the time to truly complete this thought. What would be different if a magic wand was waved and all your problems vanished?
- Imagine that tonight as I sleep and an act of magic occurs in my life. This magic has solved my greatest problem!
- How is my life going to be different now?
- What’s the first thing I’ll notice as I wake up that is different?
7. Indigo – Serenity
Wouldn’t it be great to have all of your worries and troubles lifted away instantaneously. Unfortunately there is no magic pill you can take to gain that serene state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. However, counseling can help you sort through the issues in your life and help you discover the inner strength to progress towards your goals.
- What would give your life more meaning? Balance? Happiness?
- If you didn’t care what others thought, what is your most deeply held aspiration?
8. Violet – Spirit
Spirit can be defined as the personal qualities that form the elements of a person. Spirit can also be defined as the nonphysical part of a person; the soul. It can be challenging for many LGBTQ+ people to come to reconcile their identity with their spiritual/religious beliefs. You may be struggling with discovering who you are and how you can fit within your religious community. This pride, however you choose to define spirit, how would you describe the relationship to your spiritual self?
- Do I feel connected to something greater than myself?
- In what ways are my personal qualities defining myself? Which qualities am I most proud of?
LGBT Counseling Can Help You Discover Your Pride
While pride is a time for celebration of how far the LGBTQ+ community has come in the struggle for equal rights, it can be an especially difficult time for some. Whether you are struggling with the coming out process, exploring who you truly are and what you want out of life, or dealing with feelings of isolation, self-doubt, and self-hate.
Find support and understanding with uniquely LGBTQ issues. All of our counselors in Houston are LGBT friendly and knowledgeable. Individual counseling can be an empowering way to discover your pride. Call us today at 832-559-2622 to schedule an appointment or click here to schedule an appointment online.
[i] Kelly Grovier (2016, June 15). The History of the Rainbow Flag [blog post]. Retrieved from www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160615-the-history-of-the-rainbow-flag
[ii] Baker, G. (2015, June 17). Personal Interview with M. Fisher, Museum of Modern Art.
[iii] King Jr, M. L. (1991). A Testament of Home: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. New York, NY HarperCollins Publishers.
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