My First Pridefest Showed Me The LGBTQ+ Community I Always Wanted

My First Pridefest Showed Me The LGBTQ+ Community I Always Wanted

We're here, we're queer, get used to it.

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I've known I was bi since high school, but I did not come out to most friends or my family until last year in an article. I have never been ashamed of who I was—being bi is just another part of what makes me, me. It does not matter what someone's gender expression or identity is. I see people for who they are, not what they are, and my sexuality has always reflected that.

I remember when I first realized I liked girls too, things finally clicked. It made sense now why I always felt that I did not fit in in my small, conservative hometown. Most people I interacted with were not outwardly homophobic, but being gay was never something you were supposed to be. I was supposed to find a husband, get married, and raise a family. While this sounded like a possibility, I always felt like this was not enough. My self-discovery cleared up my internal strife, and finally life started to make a little more sense.

But then I was faced with the disparities between my lifestyle, the person I truly was, and the people all around me. It was not that I did not trust my friends and family or that I thought they would not love and support me if they knew I was bi. To me, it really was not a big deal. It was just who I was, end of discussion.

So, I didn't have the discussion.

I did not want others to be uncomfortable.

I did not want to talk about it.

I did not want to feel that I was wrong somehow.

And most of all? I did not want to open the door for someone to invalidate me and my sexuality.

So I stayed quiet.

College was supposed to be different, and, in a way, it was. I told my closest friends, and I eventually told the whole world. But still, I felt this void between the true me and the person I put out into the world. I hated that.

I'm finally done playing a double life.


I went to my first Pride Rally, something I had wanted to go to for years. Before, I never had the courage, the friends, the confidence. Now I do. So I went.

If you have never been to a Pride event, I ask you to go. Go with an open mind, and you will smile as you find yourself surrounded by people who love who they are. You will witness more love than you will find anywhere else.

It was at Pride I found myself waving a rainbow flag, watching the beaming sun shine off the glitter in people's hair and on their cheeks, where I could not stop smiling, where even the smallest gestures like intertwined pinkies between a high school couple meant the world.

It was at Pride I felt home, surrounded by new friends running around with flag capes and choreographing impromptu dance parties on sidewalks.

It was at Pride I had more people welcome and encourage me than my school or community has ever done.

It was at Pride I started to realize what a real relationship should be like, and what people mean when they say you should date your best friend.

It was at Pride I found a community so strong and so courageous and empowering that I felt I could singlehandedly take on all the sexist, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, transphobic people on this Earth — not that they would let me do it alone, of course.

It was at Pride I found the missing piece of myself.

I finally found the LGBTQ+ community I'd been looking for all this time.

We're here. We're queer. Get used to it.

Cover Image Credit:

Mallorie Jordan

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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To My Roommates During Senior Year: Thanks For Making College 1,982,347,908 Times Better

We freaking made it.

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I dread the classes, I dread the school work and I dread the stress that college brings me. One thing I do not dread though is my roommates.

This past fall semester flew by, and I cannot believe that we only have one more semester left until we enter the real world. Instead of leggings and band tees, we will soon be in blazers and dress pants and I still don't know how I feel about that.

I do know that you all have made my college experience 1,982,347,908 times better. From the late nights staying up watching conspiracy theories about JonBenét Ramsey, our weekly "American Horror Story" viewing parties, and to shoving our faces with Taco Bell at midnight has brought me nothing but pure joy.

We are not roommates, we are sisters. I know that sounds super-duper cheesy but it's true. Not everything has been a ray of freaking sunshine. And by that, I mean we have petty arguments just like sisters do.

But if we didn't have a fight here or there sometimes, then that would just be really weird. Because have you ever heard from anyone about a perfect roommate relationship? Uh no.

As the school load gets bigger, I keep telling myself I can't wait for graduation but I know that graduating means that we will not be able to live together anymore, and that is when I would like to hit the pause button.

Who else will know that I can literally only cook buffalo chicken dip and all the produce that I buy goes to waste within one week? Who else will make me amazing meals that taste like a grandma made it? (Alex) Who else will always be down to run errands with me and hear about my crappy days that I tell dramatically? (Sam) Who else will come with me to every single cover band concert Bluebird puts on and stay out until 4 a.m.? (Sonya) (Even though I'm usually in bed by 11 p.m.)

I cannot thank you enough for all the rides to class because of my poor time management skills which led me to miss the bus, or all the rides from the bar because of Uber's costing an arm and a leg now.

Thank you for keeping me sane when college made me almost lose my sh*t and pull a 2007 Britney. Thank you for always knowing how to have a good time, how to make me forget about all the negativity that was occurring in my life and thank you for being the "perfect" roommates.

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