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  • Writer's pictureKerry Griffith

Happy Pride!

Happy Pride Everyone!

For many years, I made the celebration of PRIDE my heart’s priority each June. Celebrations would include a pre-party in a swanky backyard with my family at my brother’s friend’s house only a few blocks away from the PRIDE parade in Short North, Columbus. Many of these memories I cherish. I always had one of my babies attached to my hip or would be assisting the other in the collection of goodies that were tossed from the colorful and spirited parade floats.

Being a part of the celebration of PRIDE in Columbus Ohio was always a truly amazing experience for me. Waving my pride flag in support of my brothers and sisters, and two specific people, my brother and sister-in-law, made it all the more meaningful to me. I felt so alive in my advocacy. I loved witnessing all the people expressing their own rights as individual people to be who they are meant to be. Seeing people standing in their truth. Witnessing “acceptance” on so many faces, you could see every person’s eyes shine with the exchange of an enthusiastic “Happy Pride!”

My hopes are that if you are reading this piece that you have had an opportunity to share in the palpable joy and the buzz of energy that can be felt in being a part of a PRIDE celebration. The consistent messaging of “LOVE WINS” can be truly felt regardless of your own personal sexual identification.

I recall learning about “The Kinsey Scale” while I was an undergrad at Indiana University in the late 90s. The variations of human sexuality from Heterosexuality to Homosexuality, and to every point in between. This semester of studying Human Sexuality made such an impact on my life. My mind was blown wide open with all the various groups and populations that embraced different types of sexuality, practices, and lifestyles. At the time, the term LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) was newly established as a way to be inclusive to a larger community, as opposed to falling under just a category, or label, of Gay or Queer. Now, the acronyms have been added to include LGBTQIA - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Ally. If you aren’t familiar with all of these, I would encourage you to read each definition to learn more about Pan/Demi-sexual, and the difference between Non-binary and Genderqueer.

The expansiveness of our knowledge is imperative to creating a true heart-centered community. Knowing the terminology, understanding the differences of people’s sexuality, and being open-minded to every person’s experience is the way to the future of care and compassion.

If you are reading this as a person who identifies as a Heterosexual, perhaps consider wearing the label of “A” for “Ally” for this month of PRIDE. Wearing a label, or having acronyms to fall under can be an interesting experience. Most of the time, heterosexual people don’t have to claim that as their title or explain that they are in the “Straight Population” to others at a dinner party or job interview.

In my vision for the future, we don’t have to be categorized into boxes of types of people and sexual identity. People should not have to wear a label, or fall under an alphabetic acronym, and I am speaking to labels of all kinds. My vision for a future world would be acceptance from all people, starting with acceptance of just one person in your life, your community, or work environment, your church, and the person who rings you up at the store counter. How can we each find more moments of acceptance especially when you notice that you are uncomfortable?

I am beyond grateful for the expanse of studies discovered since my days of study at the Kinsey Institute of Human Sexuality in Bloomington. However, I am curious if there is one acronym that could just be used to describe any person in their own, individual life experience and sexual identification? For me, I had lived under the category of heterosexual for most of my life, and over time would have opened up to my closest friends about my bi-curious sexuality.

After undergoing an incredibly life changing transformation of mySelf, a separation of a marriage, and following not only my Soul’s truth and heart's desire, I allowed the bi-curiosity to enliven my journey and fall in love with another person . . . a beautiful and incredible woman this time. I wish I didn’t have to fall under a label or acronym in order to help appease the “label system”. So I’ve decided to create my own label, and will be sending my proposal into the Kinsey Institute for approval! Now, I wake up every morning under the letter of “H” for Happy. LGBTQIA - “H” for Happy. Happy to be in love. Happy to be myself. Happy to be Free and my most authentic, truest SELF. May we all fall under the category of “Happy, and be able to live our fullest and most meaningful lives regardless of our sexual identity, preference, or experiences.

In this beautiful month dedicated to PRIDE, I continue to wave my PRIDE flag high, and when I am able to enthusiastically exchange a “Happy Pride”, the glimmer in my eye is not necessarily acceptance from my friends and family, but acceptance of MYSELF. Being true and open-hearted, loving and accepting of myself. This June, I am finally able to be truly open about my new love with my partner and girlfriend, and I am truly HAPPY!

Happy Pride Everyone!!

Kerry Hope

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