Hey! Lauren here! You might not know this but I write some of the articles for Planet Koigang! It's really nice to meet you! I wanted to jump on here and write about a topic close to my heart. Pride, and more specifically what pride means to me.
For me pride season always makes me reflect on the privilege I have as a straight woman. I get to be myself, without judgment or having to feel shame for just being who I am. I want to use this privilege to shout as loud as I can for others who do not have the same advantage as me.
Pride is about so much more than an annual festival or rainbow-themed parties with lots of glitter (not that that's not a whole bundle of fun!) It's about fighting for the freedom to be who you are.
I grew up in Singapore with my brilliant gay brother Tom, and right at the time my brother was coming of age and coming out. He was in a country that told him who he was and who he loved was wrong. Illegal in fact. It was a very confusing time for him and he never felt like he could express himself properly, and worried about how he could be mistreated for his sexuality.
I'm Tom's big sister, his big brother at times too, I'm his partner in crime, his nemesis and his first confidant, but most of all I'm his biggest cheerleader. And I want to cheer as loud as I can for him and the amazing LGBTQ+ community he is a part of. Without them, I don't think Tom would be as empowered, courageous and all around as badass as he is now. I have a lot to thank them for.
That's my story. And I wanted to ask Koi HQ to share what pride means to them? And below are the beautiful answers they gave that celebrate identity, bravery and the powerful legacy that came before us.
To Me, Pride Means...
"Living without shame as a bisexual woman and learning that you are more than the stereotypes people put you into. People will always try to put you into a certain box of how you should be, but that’s a them problem, not a you problem, and you should try not to let it make you ashamed to be. Don’t let anyone tell you how you are or how you should feel!"
Junior Shoe Designer
"Being part of a community that centres around love and acceptance. Recognising that pride started as a protest and must be acknowledged as we continue to fight for the freedom to be ourselves."
"June represents a month where people can feel safe and seen pride feels like a month where I’m recognised or someone’s giving that little subtle nod to you –I think it so wholesome when brands talk about LGBTQ+ creators, influencers, celebrities and issues. Logos are changed to represent the pride flag some may see it as rainbow washing or performative but I am thankful and applicative because they don’t have to do it realistically. It may not impact me directly but it allows me to feel seen and normalizes those apart of the LGBTQ community. Hopefully, soon we shouldn’t have to change our logos to rainbow depictions and pride can be all year : )"
"Pride to me means: supporting everyone on their own personal journey to happiness and acceptance and being an ally to anyone regardless of their ‘out’ status. To use my privilege to defend, protect and inform others around me while learning and respecting what it means for someone to identify as uniquely themselves, in whichever way they choose."
"Pride’s an odd one for me. I’m very openly out as a queer person, I was lucky enough to never feel the need to “come out” and I have always taken pride in both my sexuality and gender. So for me, pride is about what it can do for others. For the people who may not be ready to come out or the people who need that loving boost. Pride is a reminder that your gender identity and sexuality is so valid and that you are perfect the way you are. Pride is also still a protest however, we made some progress but they’re still so much to fight for. We making progress as a collective but we aren’t done fighting for it yet. The older I get the more I see what pride does for younger people and how it’s helping people feel comfortable and proud but also educating people who aren’t part of the community."
Khloe, They/ Them
We wanted to find a way to celebrate pride and the LGBTQ+ community in our own Koi way all year long. So we have designed a Pride Mary Jane and some of the proceeds will be going to the charity akt. Who support young people from the LGBTQ+ community who are homeless or living in a hostel environment.
And you can pair them with this 'love whoever the fuck you want t-shirt' from our friends at You Decide Who You Are. They have a huge collection off clothing including t-shirts, hoodies, hats and more! You can check them out here, and show them some love and let them know we sent you!
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done. Just this week two murals in the Gay Village in Manchester were defaced with cruel vandalism. Koi are a proud Manchester brand and when things like this happen we must speak up! This is exactly why pride is so important. We must continue to fight the good fight. Now and always.
Source: Pink News
We are better than this. We will not stand for this.