The Many Voices of Pride: Ray’s story
The LGBT+ community is made of many different identities, all of which are as valid and important as the others, and every single one deserves to fly their flag with pride.
For Pride 2019, PinkNews has teamed with Uber to tell stories that show how important visibility is to a diverse rainbow of sexual and gender identities.
This is Ray’s story…
How would you describe your journey?
It wasn’t until my best friend’s younger sibling came out as trans and I saw how understanding their family was of them and supportive… [that] I remember that feeling of being 14 or 15 and thinking, “That’s what I want.”
But I really, really shoved that down and I really tried to be a girl. I grew my hair out, I plucked my eyebrows really thin — apparently that was a look! — and I stayed like that until I was 18.
Then I went to university in Brighton. And my first term there, was easily one of the best experiences of my life.
Suddenly I was surrounded by queer people, other trans people, who were so happy and successful and fulfilled being who they are, they allowed themselves to be happy.
For so long, I was denying myself happiness, trying to force myself to be something I wasn’t.
What is your experience of Pride?
Last year I went to trans pride Brighton and that was incredible.
It’s so different from London Pride and Brighton Pride, it’s entirely its own thing. It’s not commercialised, it’s just about the trans community, it was just the most wonderful atmosphere.
What flag do you identify with?
I identify with the bisexual and the trans flag definitely. I think the trans flag is the main one for me.
There’s this amazing quote by Monica Helms — who is the creator of the trans flag — that goes something like, “The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it’s always correct, which signifies us finding correctness in our lives.”
I think that’s such a powerful message because essentially that’s what being trans is.
It’s about living our lives as authentically as possible, being true to ourselves and not allowing other people to dictate our happiness or our rights to our own bodies.
Read all the personal stories from the Many Voices of Pride campaign here.