There are many facets to LGBTQIA+ Pride: everything from solidarity with others around you to personal acceptance. For me, Pride is relatively new. I only really truthfully came out to myself about four years ago as bisexual. Growing up in a conservative Catholic household, I had many standards taught to me for many years; and because of that, I chastised myself when I had ‘unclean’ thoughts (as the church would put it). When I came to accept myself and realize who I am, it was almost as if a light had been turned on in a dark room. A weight lifted off my shoulders.

Pride for me is not only about accepting who I am as a person, but also connecting with others and fighting to bring more acceptance into this world. I realize I am privileged to live in a more accepting state, even if there is still a lot of work to do. Being proud of who I am allows me the strength to push for equality wherever I go — the strength to stand up for people when others use incorrect pronouns or treat them disrespectfully. I once served the United States as a soldier. Now I try to serve the LGBTQIA+ community in our area. It may be in small ways, but if having a Pride flag in my window allows someone to know they are not alone and that it is okay to be who they are, then that is what matters to me. 

Pride is a complex subject, and it is difficult to fit it into a small space. To me, Pride is not just a month. It is not just for me. It is for all of us to remember those who came before, who sacrificed everything so we can have what little protections and acceptance that we have now. It is a promise to the future that we will keep working to make this world a more accepting and tolerant place for people of all genders and orientations. But most importantly, PRIDE is a promise to be true to who you are and not be ashamed of yourself!

Micky Knight is a longtime resident of the Tri-Cities area, a U.S. veteran, and a queer geek.