What Pride means to me
I’ve been celebrating Pride for almost 40 years, though it began many years before that. The Stonewall Inn riots on June 28, 1969 are often regarded as the energy that spurred this movement. Brenda Howard, known as the “Mother of Pride” helped organize the first LGBTQ Pride month-long events that following July. Others like Robert A Martin, L. Craig Schoonmaker and Sylvia Rivera were also influential in the early days of this movement. Read more about this history here. President Bill Clinton first officially recognized Pride month in 1999. President Barack Obama and now President Joe Biden along with leaders around the world also recognize this event each June.
Pride has many meanings for many people. For me Pride is about embracing and honoring all our differences – from my MBTI® personality type (INFP which is only 6% of the global sample) to being a Hispanic gay male approaching his sixties, to all in the Queer community who stand for “equality for all” now and for the generations to come.
Pride is also about thanking everyone outside the LGBTQ community for your love and support. I can think of so many including my amazing colleagues at The Myers-Briggs Company over the years. Those same colleagues must have wondered when they walked by my office back in 1988 and saw the picture of my partner and me sitting on my desk what that was all about. And yet, they still accepted and encouraged me for who I am.
While we have come a long way, this is also a time to remember there are people in the LGBTQ community who live in countries where we can still be punished, imprisoned or killed for living our true selves. And of course, we must remember there are those in this country who are subject to discrimination and harm for being part of the LGBTQ community. I’m saddened by the tragic loss of life just five years ago at the Pulse nightclub shooting. 49 people died that day and 53 were injured. I’m saddened that according to the Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, “42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth”.
Fortunately, I’m also heartened by a conversation I had just this past Saturday with a young transgender male who shared with me all that he is going through to become the person he was meant to be. He has endured multiple surgeries over the past two years and told me he would do it again in a heartbeat. Fortunately, he is part of a family that loves and cares and supports who he is as well. I know full well that is not always the case.
I am forever grateful to be part of The Myers-Briggs Company for over 32 years. A company that from the start has encouraged and valued my individual differences. I was only 25-years old when I started here and remember thinking I needed to act a certain way, look a certain way, “be” a certain person to succeed. I soon learned that would not work for me. Fortunately, my colleagues and this company didn’t want me to be anything but my authentic self as well.
And finally, a big part of Pride for me is about remembering and thanking all the brave and amazing pioneers who came before us. The people who laid a path for us to walk on must never be forgotten. For a quick look at a few of these LGBTQ activists click here.
This is my “story” about Pride. I would love to know, what does Pride mean to you? Please share.
Want to see Michael speak more about differences and personality on the TED stage? Check out his TED Talk here.