Pride is something that can be felt or something that can be lacking. Pride makes a person speak out, yet silences the voices in their head, telling them to stay quiet. Pride can be found in one’s self or in one’s work. Pride is the reason why we can stand by ourselves and with others.
This past Sunday. June 12th, was the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade. Approaching the parade, it seemed as if many people were contained to their friend groups. Everyone had their own way of expressing themselves, yet this expression appeared to also be contained. Relationships were discrete and only slightly noticeable. A seismic shift occurred once members reached the corner of 12th and Locust. People of all orientations, colors, and fashion styles joined together to into one colorful conglomerate. A barrage of speedos, stilettos, short skirts, and stylish shirts invited everyone who wanted to join. No longer was there just the familiar relationships with friends or significant others, but an all-encompassing relationship with everyone participating in the parade. Colorful cocoons cracked into even more vibrant butterflies, as the overall amount of raw pride would take your breath away. Vibrant floats slowly meandered through the rainbow sea of people, each containing a supportive business or organization in the LGBTQ community. The “You and Me Bench” served as yet another colorful platform where these powerful bonds could be captured. Friends, lovers, and family members were all happy to share their relationships with each other and to the community as a whole. All participants were cognizant of the immense pride that they had for each other. Many members of the parade repeatedly honored those who were affected by the mass shooting in Orlando, which happened the previous day. Such a dark and somber event was combatted by an overall sense of strength and vibrancy. Bonds were already strong, yet this horrible event seemed to make the bonds galvanize with everyone there. Pride is something that can easily be lost. It’s an entity, which needs a state of mind that is constantly self-assured and strong. Despite challenges the LGBTQ community constantly face, pride overcame all and relationships were celebrated to the fullest extent. That is what the “You and Me Bench” is all about.