Content Warning: Mentions of homophobia and transphobia.
FOR US, RED IS LIFE.
Our blood stains red, and it has bled at the hands of bigots, governments, and the police for centuries. Across races, religions, and genders, this blood unites us in life.
Ghastly as it may seem, we are here because of the blood, sweat, and tears of thousands, perhaps millions, of people before us. During Pride, we honor those who fought the good fight before us as we continue to make the world a more inclusive place one step at a time.
FOR US, ORANGE IS HEALING.
Trapped in the closet, we live every second of every day trying to hide our true selves. Our biggest fear is people discovering who we truly are, so we constantly put on a façade to act like someone we are not. Often times, we smother the very parts of us that give us life. Other times, we project our insecurities on others. Be it through depression, anxiety, or internalized homophobia, we as LGBTQ+ people struggle with the repercussions of this.
Disentangling this mess often takes us years. But ultimately, it is worth it to finally be ourselves. Being out, and being proud, is therapeutic. We are in the constant struggle of healing, but during Pride, we remember that there is a community of millions like us who will support us at every step of the healing process.
FOR US, YELLOW IS SUNLIGHT.
The sun is eternal.
We will be queer for as long as the sun will rise. We will be proud for as long as the sun will set. We will be here for everyone else in the community as long as the sun will shine.
There is sunlight at the end of the tunnel. Although sometimes it is hard to see in the darkness, we know it is here, because we are the ones holding the torch.
FOR US, GREEN IS NATURE.
We are natural. Through green we remember that who we are is who we are. Period.
And when people try and tell us otherwise, we simply quote Lady Gaga, because “Oh baby, I was born this way.”
FOR US, BLUE IS SERENITY.
Pride is serene. In a world where our identity is not accepted and constantly demonized, self-love is the most powerful force. Let us be at peace with ourselves, and let us take pride in our identity.
FOR US, PURPLE IS SPIRIT.
“You get to exhale now, Simon.”
Though millions of people heard that line in theatres, we felt that quote at a visceral level. Our young lives are spent hiding within a husk of a person we are not, forced to live a lie. Finally accepting our identity allows our spirit — smothered for so long — to breathe at last.
WE ARE RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, AND PURPLE.
Never underestimate the power of a queer person who loves themselves. For those who may not yet, never underestimate the power of a queer community that loves you.
Maanas Sharma is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Public Policy and a junior at the School of Science and Engineering in Dallas. His academic interests lie in bringing social scientific perspectives into quantitative public policy and he is vehemently opposed to all forms of injustice. He is the Director of Finance at Redefy, the nation’s leading youth-led social justice organization, co-founder and Program Lead at Seeds2STEM, a youth collaborative targeted at underserved in the DFW metroplex, and has a personal interest in LGBTQ+ liberation.