"How to celebrate Pride Month...even if you're still chilling in the closet"
Pride Month is all about celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and its rich history, culture and significance. Whether you are out-and-proud or still figuring out your sexuality or gender identity, this month is for Y-O-U. Even if you don't feel comfortable donning rainbows and parading through the streets, there are so many ways to celebrate Pride Month. Keep reading to learn how to honor yourself as a member of the LGBTQ+ community...even if you're still chilling in the closet.
Option 1: Self-Discovery
This month, explore your sexuality and gender identity by diving into your thoughts and feelings through journaling and self-reflection. Once you've considered your emotions, take some time to educate yourself about LGBTQ+ history and culture to learn more about the community. Learning about different labels and orientations is a great way to gain clarity about your own identity.
Option 2: Self-Expression
Finding ways to express yourself will help you build the confidence necessary to emerge into the world as your true self some day. If you are comfortable with it, express yourself by subtly wearing your colors and spreading awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and history. Try to find a safe environment to speak openly about your identity and struggles—local LGBTQ+ organizations and related online spaces are good places to look.
Option 3: Self-Love
Most importantly, be kind to yourself this month. Try to spend some time challenging thoughts that stem from internalized homophobia or transphobia. Struggling with your identity can be emotionally draining, and you deserve to feel accepted and content in your own skin. Give yourself the necessary time to accept and express yourself.
Remember: you are not defined by your sexuality or gender identity. Take time to love and accept yourself as both a person and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Many people, myself included, feel pressured to choose a "box" to fit into. But as independent, unique human beings, there is no need to label ourselves until we feel fully prepared to take that step. We all discover, embrace and share our identities in different ways—there is no need to rush the process.
Although being closeted might make you feel isolated and alone, you still have a place in the LGBTQ+ community. Every member of the community spent time behind the closet door, so take solace in knowing that you're not alone. Although we are nearing the end of Pride Month, try to spend some time appreciating all of the wonderful, colorful things about you.
If you need someone to talk to regarding your gender and/or sexual identity, call 888-843-4564 or visit the CenterLink website to find a supportive community near you.
Slider image from @pride