The month of June, aka pride month, is a time for the queer community to celebrate how fabulous we are. Throughout history, queer people and their rights have been undermined and mistreated. We now have rights, such as marriage, that many people never thought possible.

I came out as pansexual in my sophomore year of college. It felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my heart. I finally felt free from all of the social expectations that I had adhered to my entire life. Did I always know I was gay? No. I had thoughts that popped in and out of head about potentially being gay, but I wasn't ready to accept it yet.

The queer community in St. Louis accepted me with open arms. I was surrounded by people who were like me. They accepted all of the weird things about me, and in fact, they encouraged it. My individualism was celebrated! I had spent so much time trying to fit into the social norms of our society, but I was finally free.

Coming out was no easy feat. It included saying goodbye to a deep denial that had been a huge part of my life. Once I finally did, I was able to explore my mind, my morals, and what I wanted for my life on my own volition.

What does pride month mean to me?

The celebration of my gay pride is a celebration of becoming exactly who I'm meant to be. It encompasses all of the hard times and insecurities that I have overcome to become the beautiful queen I am today.

I believe that even the straightest, heterosexual man out there can find his inner queen. Isn't that what we're all ultimately trying to achieve—a place where we can feel comfortable to live in our skin every single day and to be proud of who we are?

Sometimes I think people in the queer community are lucky. We get/have to spend time discovering our identity.

Before I ever even realized I was a gay woman, I spent so much energy trying to fit myself into the pretty straight girl box media portrays. I wanted to be desirable; the loudmouthed, stubborn girl I am was never going to fly.

For me, exploring my queerness was about more than discovering who I'm sexually attracted to. It allowed me to accept every part of myself, whether masculine or feminine, as beautiful. I was no longer confined to a box and I finally free to be or act any way I wanted.

Queer is defined as strange or odd. Aren't we all a little queer sometimes? All I know is that I never want to be ordinary.

I plan to storm this pride month as the queer individual I am. The celebration of pride is a time to celebrate the rights we have gained and the beautiful differences between all of us.