“As a kid, I looked to my parents and teachers for validation. I made adults proud with accomplishments in school and by following expectations.

Being queer has made me realize the importance of finding intrinsic pride—pride that is not reliant on making others happy. Finding inner pride can be difficult. I’ve found that pride is a thing queer people have to continue to cultivate.

I’ve been really into learning from queer history in the past few years. Learning about the AIDs crisis and lesbians caretaking for their friends, about closeted nuns. People I could have been if I was born in previous generations. These stories of resilience humble me and help me cultivate my own strength to find intrinsic pride.

So I’m proud that I’m learning—learning to do the things I love, and to be proud of myself.”