Happy Pride Month!

June has always been my favorite month, but I guess that’s no surprise since my birthday falls at the end of the month. Similarly, I have always LOVED rainbows. Any guesses where this is going? Yes, I love both even more because I share a birthday month with Pride, and the original Pride flag was a rainbow.

Of course, there are a lot more Pride flags now to represent the many identities. And true, there are other flags that would better represent my personal identity. But what can I say — I love rainbows, so I still like to think of the rainbow flag as the all-encompassing Pride Flag (but it’s okay, I totally understand anyone who doesn’t feel the same - the other flags are great too!)

It’s been a few years since I’ve really considered myself in the closet. I’m not hiding my identity, even if it’s something that still manages to surprise people when I share about myself.

“But Elizabeth, how can you identity as Queer when you are married to a man? Isn’t it dismissive to your current relationship to bring that up"?”

Absolutely not. My spouse and I have been friends for almost half of my life, and as such my spouse knows exactly who I am, including my Queer identity. In fact, anyone who questions WHY I still share my about my identity is not even the target audience of my declaration.

Why I do share is….

Because I know there are plenty of other young people trying to figure out who they are, and I want them to know that no part of your identity is ever erased due to you current relationship or lack thereof…

Because I remember being a young teenager, and one of my closest friends was so scared to tell me he was gay in case I would think any differently of him, and as happy as I was that my friend was wanting to be true to himself, I still didn’t have the courage to say that I was starting to think that maybe I wasn’t straight either…

Because I remember feeling like I had no where to turn and no one to talk to during those teenage years of trying to figure out my identity…

Because when I did feel comfortable embracing an identity that was Not Straight, I knew I had to keep it a secret, after growing up hearing, “I don’t have a problem with people being gay, I just don’t want to see or know about it…”

Because I remember the first time I had a group of friends, all older than me, so they were comfortable talking about their Not Straight identities, and for the first time I had people to finally share my own identity with…

Because I remember being an adult the first time gender identities aside from male, female, trans-man, or trans-woman…

Because even as identities across the gender spectrum become more normalized, people are still told their pronouns are too hard, and so let’s just stick with he/she and keep it simple…

Because it’s still easier to tell people I’m Not Straight than it is to say I’m genderqueer, because even if a spectrum for sexuality exists already, the idea of a gender spectrum is just Too Much…

Because there are STILL people who tell me that my identity doesn’t matter, simply because they perceive my relationship as cishet, because if I bring up my identity it must mean I don’t love my spouse, because people can’t embrace the idea that maybe, just maybe, my spouse loves me for who I am and that a part of who I am is my identity on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum…

Because there are still people who are afraid to come out of the closet…

Because there are still people who live in countries where they dare not come out of the closet…

Because even in the United States it is not always safe to come out of the closet…

Because I lived in Orlando - where #allmyfriendsweregay and now I live in Utah - where it usually feels a hell of a lot safer to put myself back in the closet I came out of…

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Whoever you are.
Wherever you are.
Whether you are fully in the closet.
Whether you are out and proud.
Whether you are somewhere in between.
However you identity.
Your identity is valid.
You are valid.
You are beloved.
Exactly as you are.
May we all be loved and accepted.
Exactly as we are.

Happy Pride Month!

xoxo, Elizabeth