Pride can be a difficult time when you aren’t out yourself. It can hurt to see other members of the LGBTQ community posting pictures online with their significant others, dancing in the streets, waving their flags, and going to Pride events with their supportive relatives.
But, it’s important to remember that Pride is for everyone, whether you are out or not and regardless of what stage you are at. Just because you aren’t parading in public this month, or belting out your favorite queer anthem at a gay bar at 2 am, doesn’t mean you can’t feel Pride or celebrate it in your own way.
While, one day, we would hope that everyone can be loud and unapologetic about who they are, for now, you might need to prioritize your well-being and safety by having a Pride that looks a little different from other people’s.
Here’s how you can celebrate Pride if you are closeted.
Wear something that holds special meaning
This doesn’t have to be a super obvious t-shirt – it could be a simple accessory that doesn’t necessarily scream “Pride!” to others, but it represents something to you and reminds you who you are. This could be a necklace, a bracelet, or a pin badge.
Immerse yourself in queer art
The great thing about 2022 is that both headphones and laptops exist, meaning you can listen to your favorite queer musicians and podcasts, or watch TV shows and films, without anyone needing to know. So, create a playlist of the songs that empower you, or have a movie night for one with a film that tells a good queer love story.
Connect with your community online
Provided it is safe for you to do so, reach out to fellow LGBTQ people on social media. Chances are, you aren’t the only one seeking a safe space of likeminded people. There are thousands of LGBTQ content creators on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and more, as well as Facebook groups which create a space for you to be you without fear. Another great factor is you can even use a pseudonym and preserve your identity entirely.
Adopt an old symbol
Way back when, LGBTQ people would adopt secret signals and covert methods of communication to let others that they were the same as them. If you aren’t out this Pride, do some research into these signals and try one of them out. It might be placing a handkerchief in your back pocket to show that you are gay, or using a Greek letter from the past that symbolizes queerness. You can tell your family members that it stands for something else, and those for whom it’s intended will get it without you needing to say a word.
Show yourself compassion
While we very often view Pride as a loud protest, it’s also about showing kindness to yourself and healing the parts of yourself that have experienced trauma. So, if you aren’t out this Pride, remember to be gentle with yourself and to not punish yourself for not being where you want to be. This time can also be useful for self-discovery and figuring out who you are in the truest form. Pride doesn’t have to be bold and boisterous because it can be silent too.