James Roy doesn’t usually show affection in public. But when he does, it’s during Pride.

James Roy, left, with his boyfriend at Twin Cities Pride in 2023
James Roy, left, with his boyfriend at Twin Cities Pride in 2023 Photo: Sean Jones

In a perfect world, everyone comes out on their own terms.

Some people never have to make a public declaration, while others endure a lifetime of wanting and waiting to make a change.

For LGBTQ+ Americans in 2024, hard-fought history is bumping up against a red tide of intolerance, and for people who aren’t out yet, it may feel like not the most propitious time to raise their hand.

Or you might just not give an “f” when a monumental #TakePride installation by Target at your local Pride festival is sending “come out” vibes your way.

For James Roy of Minneapolis, it was definitely the former and probably some of the latter.

Target, the Minneapolis-based corporate ally, is a big sponsor at Twin Cities Pride, where Roy and his longtime boyfriend found themselves drawn to the massive display in 2023.

“Not ones for public displays of affection, Pride is the one time of the year we truly feel safe being ourselves and showing our love in public,” Roy said of maybe the most public declaration of Pride you could possibly make.

The #TakePride hashtag is actually a Target creation, accompanying their political u-turn in the early 2010s following criticism over a donation that supported rabidly anti-LGBTQ+ candidate for Virginia governor, Ken Cuccinelli. The retail giant responded with a huge pro-LGBTQ+ rights ad campaign that coincided with the Supreme Court’s recognition of marriage equality.

About a decade later, the politics of corporate allyship are more fraught, but the #TakePride hashtag remains — and it called out to Roy and his boyfriend last summer.

The couple has been together for four years now, but Roy says the #TakePride snap is a rarity.

James Roy, left, with his boyfriend at Twin Cities Pride in 2023
Sean Jones James Roy, left, with his boyfriend at Twin Cities Pride in 2023

“This is one of the first photos of me being out and proud in public, with no F’s given,” the 55-year-old says.

With the couple’s very public display of affection, this proud Minnesotan proves it’s never too late to raise your hand and #TakePride.

Pride in Pictures is LGBTQ Nation’s annual series celebrating Pride across the country. We asked our readers to send in their pictures and stories of Pride and we got so many rainbows. Keep an eye out for more heartwarming stories to get you ready for Pride Month 2024.

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