The Power of Pride: D.C. Residents on Pride 2022

Pride has always held the spirit of a radical riot. A riot of freedom from the restrictions of the gender binary, a riot of joy to fully embrace the depth and expansiveness of one’s sexuality, and a riot to fully live in all the aspects of one’s identity. It is this spirit of revolution, celebration, and self expression that allies and community members travel from far and wide to experience local pride parades. 

This pride month I had the chance to attend Pride in D.C., a historic city with a historic history of pride parades and LGBTQ+ acceptance. With LGBTQ+ flags hung on every corner, to a host of queer bars and safe spaces, D.C. is surely a place full of out and proud LGBTQ+ community members and their allies. While full of beautiful floats and celebratory activities, this years Pride parade celebration also held the journeys and experiences of the queer folks and allies that attended. I got a chance to sit down with members of the community and some of their allies; here are their stories. 

LOCAL RESIDENT

While deciding to remain anonymous, this local DC resident shared their feelings of the liberation and powerful acceptance that pride offers. 

What does having a safe space like Pride mean for you? 

“It means existing in an environment around people who are truly accepting of all identities. Humanhood cannot be defined by any singular gender expression, identity or sexuality and it was amazing to see all types of people together, happy and simply existing as their true selves.”

With so many people dancing, letting loose and having fun, did you feel a sense of liberation while attending this year’s Pride? 

“It was definitely super freeing. There was so much joy and unity, and feeding off such positive energy was extremely important and meaningful to me.”

What does the power of queer community mean to you? 

“Queer community means acceptance, solidarity and advocacy. It means standing with and standing up for those around you in spite of any differences.”

What does Pride mean to you? 

“Pride means existing as one’s true self unapologetically—and having pride in it, of course. Although Pride’s origins stemmed from experiences that were much less joyful, Pride in 2022 means uniting in honor of the trailblazers at Stonewall and other LGBTQ+ elders who helped pave the way for LGBTQ+ rights. There’s a lot of progress that needs to be made, but it’s still important to honor those icons.” 


TYTIANA CURTAIN

With a love for her culture and a passion for the communities she serves, Tytiana Curtain is a Howard University alumna who seeks to change the world through law and politics. A future lawyer working in civil rights and racial justice, Curtain not only supports communities she is a part of but also communities abroad in her work as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Describing her Pride experience as “gleeful,” Curtain is sure to be a long time Pride attendee. 

What was it like to attend your first Pride and, in all places, in D.C.? And what did it mean for you to go?

“Being that it was my first time attending, DC Pride to me meant placing myself in a space that was so important to many others in my life in order to actively support, uplift, and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.”

What does allyship mean to you? How do you show up as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community? 

“Allyship to me means being actively supportive towards those in communities apart from one’s/my own. I exist as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community by constantly showing up for those I claim to love and support in tangible and visible ways that will further amplify their voices, stories, and experiences in spaces that have demonized and disparaged them throughout history.”

While Pride is often considered a spirit for only community members to embody, it expands to those around the community, including our allies. What does Pride mean to you as an ally? 

As an ally, Pride to me means creating a safe space for those within the LGBTQ+ community to freely express their whole selves, not just for one day or one month, but everyday.“

If you had a message/words of wisdom to those in the community what would that be? 

“I was always told this growing up so I’ll just say: be you, in whatever way that manifests itself, because there’s only one, and no one else can do it better! “


AJHANI CARROLL (she/her/hers)

Bubbly, bright and full of personality, Ajhani Carroll is a passionate local D.C. teaching assistant and student tutor. Valuing her students’ positive progress, support and change, she not only works to assist them in their academic goals but also is ever changed by the students themselves. A previous Pride attendee, with this year’s Pride being her first pride as a community member, Carroll shares her journey, experiences and thoughts on Pride throughout the years.

There are so many different narratives and information surrounding Pride, what did you know about Pride prior to attending? 

I knew that Pride started following the Stonewall riots in New York, as well as Pride being held in June because the riots took place in June. Pride allows for LGBTQ+ folk to be affirmed in love, support, and community.

Going back to your first Pride experience as a previous ally turned community member, what was that day like for you?

My first Pride started off a little overwhelming. From not being sure where to go, to being in that huge New York City crowd, it was definitely a lot. But then I instead became overwhelmed with positive energy and joy. It felt great to be surrounded by so much love and happiness.

Most people take allyship as just a word, but you’ve been to Pride multiple times in support. As a previous ally, what did it mean to you to be an ally to the community and support so visibly? 

I have always been really passionate about advocating and supporting marginalized communities so it was important for me to show up for my friends, family and just the right to love and be who you want. 

Now identifying as queer and being a part of the community, what did it mean to you to be able to attend your first Pride as a community member? 

I was really excited to go this year because it felt like my “first” Pride. Even though it wasn’t really my first, lol. Knowing that on this day at this particular time and place, I could just be myself with no second thoughts was truly elevating.

What did it feel like to be surrounded by people just like you? 

I think in most cases it is rare that you can be yourself when surrounded by a bunch of strangers. Pride is literally the opposite though; that sense of community and affirmation is really unmatched.

As a Queer Black Woman, what does Pride mean to you? 

Pride means showing up as yourself; undeniably and unapologetically.

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