Pride is a feeling most of us feel at one point or another in our lives.  We may feel it watching a loved one accomplish an important life goal, or when we accomplish a goal ourselves, or sometimes we simply feel it in moments of bliss when we realize we are part of a bigger, beautiful picture.  I’ve felt pride in many different forms, on a few different occasions.  The first was when I walked with my best friends in the Boston Youth Pride parade last spring, I was proud of my ally friends for coming with me and showing their support for something bigger than themselves in a way most of my friends wouldn’t do.  I felt a new kind of pride this spring when my rugby team won the division three championship at the Beast of the East Tournament, the largest collegiate rugby tournament in the U.S.  This sense of pride came from accomplishing a common goal, working through what seemed impossible to come out with a win we all worked through pain, sweat, cold, tears, and blood for.  However, more recently I felt a new sense of pride that was stronger than any I have ever felt before.

Previously, I wrote about this year’s Boston Pride and how it brought out a sense of community for me.  That’s not all it did, it also brought out a sense of pride that I had never had before.  At Pride, I felt as though I was part of a bigger picture and part of a movement.  There are obvious movements within Pride such as the movement for transgender rights or marriage equality but that’s not the one I felt.  I felt the unspoken movement of people being able to have this one day to all be together, expressing themselves freely and safely.  It was a time when so many different kinds of people and organizations that had different goals were all marching together and supporting one another.  Hugging strangers is a given and breaking apart the gender binaries and societal norms are encouraged.  It’s a time when we can all break from our shells and express what we feel about ourselves and for one another.

There aren’t enough spaces where people feel comfortable expressing themselves fully whether it be related to their inclusion in the LGBTQ community or just being different in general.  Breaking away from societal norms in terms of how we are supposed to act and present ourselves can be difficult and Pride events are a space full of people who understand and celebrate these differences.  At Pride and Joy, we are all about celebrating differences and being a store that focuses on inclusivity of different kinds of people whether they are a part of the LGBTQ community or the greater Northampton community.

http://www.nohoprideandjoy.com/

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