In the Voices of iMentor Students: What Does Pride Mean to You?

Fifty years ago in June 1969, the Stonewall riots in New York City sparked the modern LGBT movement in the U.S. In the decades since, the move towards acceptance and equal protection under law has not been an easy one as the LGBT community has expanded to include those who are Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual. The community has seen the ravages of the the AIDS crisis in the 1980s; Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policies in the 1990s; and heartbreaking suicide rates among teenagers and adults alike. At the same time, acceptance in the U.S. has expanded, seeing the 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage as well as broader recognition of the transgender community.

As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, we asked iMentor students this question: What does pride mean to you?

iMentor Student Advisory Council members
From top left: Georgina, Angel, Tsvetelin, Elijah, Raiangel, Garry, and Tresor

Maribel Tale
International High School at Lafayette
11th Grade

Pride means to me that we should all be respectful, no matter what our sexual orientation is. We should feel accepted and no one should feel judged for their preferences. The LGBT movement is one meant to fight the injustices around us.

Georgina Chavez
The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
12th Grade

When thinking about pride, I think of a community of people coming together to celebrate one love. A love that unites people from different genders and races. The word “pride” means freedom to those who have struggled in making their love equal. “One love” is a phrase so powerful for those who struggle in creating a change.

Angel Arias
Bronx High School for Law & Community Service
11th Grade

Pride, to me, is empowerment. Discovering my identity took a long time, though I am grateful that I’ve found myself in a time shorter than my peers. When I first realized I was pansexual, the first thing I felt was fear. I was afraid I’d be disowned, my friends would hate me, and I’d be bullied at school. I did struggle to be accepted by my family, but my friends supported me. For the next few years I was confident and felt elated when my mom finally took me to the parade last year. Months after, I came out as trans, and I was stuck in that same place all over again. My friends adjusted quicker than my family, but not everyone was as accepting of my gender as they were with my sexuality. To be honest, I’m okay with that. As the 50th anniversary of the riots approaches, I’ve never felt so proud to be a part of such a loving and understanding community. I’m proud to be pan. I’m proud to be trans. I’m proud to be me, discrimination and all. Even if I can’t embrace my full self just yet, and even if the odds are stacked against me, Pride Month is a part of who I am and those who come before. Don’t like it? Too bad. It’s not your life. It’s mine, and I’m living it to the fullest.

Tsvetelin Tsvetkov
Marble Hill School for International Studies
11th Grade

For me, pride means being happy with who you are. Nothing more, nothing less.

Elijah Rosario
Business of Sports School
12th Grade

Pride means equality. I believe that you can define it as whatever you want, as long as you respect the sexuality of others.

Raiangel Valdez Business of Sports School
10th Grade

Pride means freedom. Pride helps us keep our head high for anything that comes our way. Pride is always a part of us.

Garry Williams
Bronx Academy for Software Engineering
12th Grade

Pride means having liberty with what you say or do and feeling passionate about it. Having pride is a platform for yourself to stand up for what you believe in.

Tresor Jackson
The Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn
12th Grade

Pride, to me, means not being afraid to show and be who you are. Forgetting about what makes others happy and doing what makes you happy. Pride means you being you, no matter what others say. Period.

Allison Chavez
Union Square Academy for Health Sciences
12th Grade

Pride means freedom to me and the definition of equality. Bring able to be yourself around anyone without being judged by anyone and, most importantly, not being mistreated, is the meaning of pride.

Learn more about the Student Advisory Council for iMentor NYC.