Pride is not a moment but a continual experience. It is something that evolves with one’s personal journey of self-acceptance. Ultimately, it is a celebration of accepting one’s self.
Simultaneously, it is the understanding that self-acceptance is often not something that comes overnight, or even over a few years.
It is itself a journey, and during pride queer people can celebrate their progress on this path.
From an outsider’s perspective, pride may look like a celebration of complete self-acceptance and self-love. Perhaps this is the case for some queer people, and I admire them for this. Personally, and I think this applies to many LGBTQ folks, I have not reached complete acceptance of myself and my sexuality. As such, at the pride I am not celebrating complete self-love. Instead, I am celebrating all of the progress that I have made in this journey of self-love.
When society tells you that your sexuality or gender identity is wrong for the vast majority of your life, this mentality becomes ingrained in your mind and in a way becomes your default perspective. The journey of accepting one’s queer self begins when one realizes that society is wrong. Your sexuality or gender identity is not immoral, it is just one part of yourself and there is no reason to be ashamed of it. This is the moment when pride begins.
Despite this realization, one does not immediately shake all of their internalized shame and self-hatred. Years of intolerance make self–acceptance the goal rather than the default feeling for many openly queer people. This lies in contrast to the usual portrayal of pride as a celebration of complete self-love.
I instead view pride as those moments where queer people embrace the journey of self-acceptance and love.