Spectrum Celebrates Pride – What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is a celebration of visibility, autonomy, equality, and self-determination. It is an assertion that we are here, despite ongoing efforts to erase us.

In the half century since the first pride parades, pride months have become ever more inclusive, extending their celebration to all who feel their gender identity or sexual orientation falls outside the mainstream. This includes all those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA), or any of the myriad combinations of these traits that create a vast array of personal identities commonly grouped together under the term sexual and gender minorities (SGM).

To celebrate Pride, we asked our membership to share their thoughts which are reproduced below:

I view pride as a chance to reflect on relevant issues, to remember, and to look to the future. It’s so important to keep making progress. And to me, progress looks like a place where people don’t fear each other because of their differences, but live and let live.
– Anonymous 

It’s easy to get distracted by “rainbow capitalism”, but at its heart, Pride Month is still so important. The fact that Pride has gone from a memorial of milestone riots for queer liberation in June 1969 to a celebration of queer people in American society in only a few decades is nothing short of remarkable.
It is important for us to remember and honor those who struggled and died (and continue to struggle and die) because of their gender or sexual identity, but it’s also important for us to celebrate the progress we have made.
I’m personally grateful for the fight and progress of my queer ancestors this year, as I just last month adopted a baby girl with my husband – something nearly unthinkable in 1969.
– Matt Menickelly (they/them/theirs), MCS

Pride to me is the feeling when a young queer person feels seen by me, or sees themselves in me – and the way these moments validate their identities and shows them they can be an openly queer person and/or scientist.
– Anonymous 

Pride month has changed for me recently, it’s always been focused on celebrating and recognizing the historical impact of LGBTQIA+ individuals and showing that I am a proud member of that community. But after having my son and with the recent increase in attacks on rights around LGBTQIA+ individuals and families, it’s become even more about showing that my family is “normal.” It’s changed from being more reflective around elements of the past to much more present, in the now, and looking to the future.
This year, I am making it a point to show my son that there are so many definitions of family and that all are “normal” and beautiful…including his…which happens to have two Moms.
– Jennifer Fortner, IS-PMO

PRIDE to me is a symbol of hope, growth, equality, forgiveness, and a movement of voice. Being raised in a small town in the deep South, I was taught to fear the very parts of myself that make me who I am. Moving to the Midwest I remember the first Pride I stumbled upon in Chicago (perfect happenstance as I didn’t really understand what it was then) and felt a great sense of “these are my people”, that was in 2012 and from that moment I realized that I would be “okay”, there was nothing “wrong” with me, and I am free to be my authentic self. Personally, Pride is a symbol of hope and a reminder to be kind. Hope that the future for all humans to be celebrated as their authentic selves in their personal and professional lives will become the norm. Hope that equality above all else is achieved and if nothing else, be kind to each other.
One thing that I wish other people to know about Pride is that aside from the historical aspects (which are equally important), Pride is different for every person in their journey and meaningful in a multitude of ways-my experience may not be someone else’s and that is a beautiful reminder that we are all in different walks of life collectively trying to move forward every day.
– Nathan Rogers, PSC

These are a couple of reasons why for me this year Pride feels more like a rallying cry to continue the fight rather than a celebration.  We have come a long way, but we have oh so far to go before I can casually mention I am queer and not feeling like I’m inviting people to be inappropriate or like I have to defend my non-traditional choices.  We have a long way to go before I won’t worry when my queer friends take trips around the US or around the World.
– Anonymous

Spectrum thanks all those that participated for sharing their thoughts, and wishes them and the entire Laboratory a happy and safe #Pride2022

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