Tennessee teens share what pride means to them

Allie Faxon, Senior at Franklin County High School [in headband, below]:

For me, pride is being able to hold my girlfriend's hand in public and feel fairly safe about it. Pride is also having the ability to stand up for what I believe in. Lastly, pride is the overwhelming feeling that comes over me when I am surrounded by my friends, family, and allies.



Sydney Peay, Senior at Summit High School:

Pride is looking around the room and thinking that, even though I just met these people today, I feel like they know me. It's about community. I never feel more safe and at peace with myself than when I'm with other LGBT people. I like knowing that, even when I feel sad and alone, there is a massive community who gets it. I like that there's a history, a culture to queerness that I'm a part of, no matter where I go. Pride is more than just loving myself. It's loving the community that I'm a part of.



Lane Scoggins, Senior at St. Andrew’s Sewanee School:

Pride is an opportunity to celebrate my identity with other people who support me. It's a chance to meet other people like me, and feel like I'm a part of something bigger than myself. Living in rural Tennessee, sometimes it's good to have a reminder that I'm not in this alone, and that there really is a supportive community out there.

I went my first pride last year with my GSA, and we had a blast! I've never seen LGBT+ people so happy and open, especially around here. I'm happy to get to work at the GLSEN table this year and be a part of that happiness. It makes me feel like what I'm doing with my life really matters.



Sam Passman, Junior at Independence High School [with colored hair, below]:

Going to my first Pride was my best experience. I met with my best friend, who had guided me through my freshman year of high school, and showed me that I could be loved and cared for. I remember being so happy, just to see that there were other people like me. I wanted to cry, I was so happy, and I remember asking my mom if she was okay with me having a “gay room." She didn't care, of course, because she knew, but it really solidified that my mom loved me for who I am. My first pride is my favorite memory to look back on: it was my gay Christmas morning cliché.



Colin Goodbred:

Pride is becoming comfortable as myself. Pride doesn’t always mean that I wear rainbows and glitter; rather, my short hair, my chest binder, and my weekly testosterone injections help me to feel more like the person I am meant to be. I care about myself enough to break assumptions of gender and sexuality. I express my pride every time I am myself and participate in my community, because I can help show that LGBT individuals are fully capable of becoming informed, involved members of society. We can be leaders, not in spite of our LGBT identity, but because of how our pride in ourselves has encouraged us to keep moving forward.



Jade Carroll [in blue shirt, below]:

Pride is much more then parades and festivals. Pride is knowing you are who you are and no one can change that. Pride is finding your place in the world no matter what hate is to come. Pride is walking down the hallway and knowing that, no matter what anyone says, you are vaild. Pride isn't something that you can see but something that makes you feel powerful in day-to-day life. Pride is something I hope everyone no matter the situation can feel for themselves.



Austin Belcher [with clipboard, below]:

I think pride is wearing what you want, no matter who sees you, like me and my make-up at work! [lawd the sass]




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