On one rainy afternoon during the April holidays when I was 16, I was sitting at our
sitting room at home, bored and upset at the fact that we only had one more week left before we
returned to school for our second term. So, to ease my boredom, I decided to watch TV. I begun
swiping through the channels before a certain image caught my eyes. It was a news article about
pride. The history, why it is celebrated and what it meant to those who celebrate it. There was a
young man who walked up to a reported, he was wearing a dress and earing, and he shouted:
“This is home; I belong here.” Up until this point in my life, I had never seen someone very
outwardly and courageous own their selves. I had never witnessed so much beauty and
authenticity. I had never seen any one defy the norms that I was raised in, that I often found to
have been chains that tethered me a person I did not want to be. On that rainy bored evening, I
looked at the TV and saw men wearing dresses, women who were lovers and women who were
born and assigned the gender male but were now female. For me, I had never felt more at ease,
the realization that somewhere in this world there were people who defied the gender norms and
standards that were set for us.
Over the next few months, I would begin would be a very enlightening research. I would
look into each and every aspect of what that news article was reporting on and what those people
so vigilantly stood for. Pride, specifically LGBTQ Pride, is the promotion of the self-affirmation,
dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I
believe that it is here that I should mention that I am a member of the LGBTQ community as I
am a transgender man, I have experienced gender dysphoria for most of my life. For a long time,
I felt trapped in a body that I did not feel belonged to me. But on that day, I came to not just know, I saw that I was not alone, that I too can be loved, that I too am worthy, and that I too can
be what I wanted to become.
LGBTQ Pride is marked annually in the month of June. It commemorates the Stonewall
Riots which began in the early hours of 28th June, 1969, after police raided the Stonewall Inn Bar
in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. The Stonewall Riots were a series of
violent confrontations between the police and the gay activists outside the Stonewall Inn. These
riots progressed and facilitated the birth of the international gay rights movement. The Gay
Rights Movement is thus, a civil rights movement that advocates for equal rights for gays,
lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons. It is a movement that seeks to eliminate sodomy
laws that bar homosexual acts between consenting adults. And it calls for an end to the
discrimination against the LGBTQ community in employment, housing, public accommodations,
loans and other areas of life. The riots helped in galvanizing the gay community and sparked a
greater political activism for the community.
When I tell you all these, you might have an idea of the Pride is and what it has meant for
people over the years. It has helped individuals acknowledge their authentic selves that they have
been hiding. Pride has enabled people actively fight for their rights. It has helped in fighting
discrimination of the LGBTQ community and the promotion of spaces in social, political and
economic spaces. For me, pride has validated a sense of feeling at home. It represents freedom
and authenticity and love and hope and a sense of community and survival. It is a
commemoration for those who came before us, who fought for our rights and made it possible
for people like me to have rights. Pride has given me a strength because seeing people who are
just like me made me feel less alone in the world. It made me appreciate myself more and love
myself a little more. I often think about the man in a dress I saw that rainy boring afternoon. His face, his
clothing, his appearance, his confidence, his words, his words, “This is home; I belong here.” I
may not be there now; I am not sure if ill get their soon. But I am on my way there. To home. To
a place I can speak with confidence about who I am. Thanks to pride and that young man, I am
on my way there.

Happy Pride Month everyone.

Author : Adrian King Kibe

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