12 Quotes For Pride Month That Highlight The Importance Of Pride

by Min Straussman

Pride Month, held every June in commemoration of the 1969 event known as the Stonewall Riot or the Stonewall Uprising, is a month-long celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. Generally known more colloquially as simply Pride (with a capitalized P), Pride Month is a time for people to come together, have fun, and simply enjoy being themselves. There are Pride parades, musical events, educational opportunities, and of course, marketing campaigns featuring rainbows. During a moment in time when queer people face persistent and mounting oppression, Pride Month is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the many forms it takes in society.

The following quotes from activists, actors, athletes, and others who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community are powerful reminders of the importance of Pride and being able to be exactly who you are.


Putting yourself out there is hard, but it’s so worth it. I don’t think anyone who has ever spoken out, or stood up or had a brave moment, has regretted it. It’s empowering and confidence-building and inspiring. Not only to other people, but to yourself.
—Megan Rapinoe, “Dear Megan,” Bleacher Report, 2016


In 2016, US women’s national soccer team captain Megan Rapinoe wrote a touching letter to her 13-year-old self. In it, she advises her younger self that having pride and being open about being a lesbian is empowering, meaning that it allows one to act in the world with more confidence and understanding. Feeling empowered to do something means you have the power and authority to do so.


Forty years ago, before anyone had heard of a gay pride day, it took a new sense of audacity and courage for many of those gathered to take the next step and march through midtown Manhattan and look New York City square in the eye.
—Fred Sergeant, Out History, 2019


While many, many activists contributed to the organizing of the first Pride events, one notable contributor was Fred Sergeant. Sergeant took part in the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and later helped organize an annual Reminder of the Stonewall Riots. One of the first of these Reminders was the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day in March of 1970, generally considered the first Pride march, “to advance in step in an organized body.” These early Pride marches were distinctly political, to advocate for LGBTQ issues. In some cases, Pride Month events are referred to as parades, a term which has a less political connotation, or as protests, which is more explicitly political.


It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.
—Laverne Cox, Buzzfeed interview, 2014


As actress Laverne Cox notes, for some queer people simply being seen openly in public, as in a parade, is revolutionary. In this quote, she is using revolutionary in the sense of “radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure, principles, etc.” The word revolution comes from the Middle English revolucion, in turn from the Latin revolūtiōn, meaning a turning action. It was first recorded in English between 1350–1400 specifically to describe the movements of celestial bodies, as in a planet’s orbit around a point. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 1600s that revolution took on the political and cultural associations it has today.


[W]hen I came out, it just felt amazing. When it comes to my sexuality, when it comes to who I am, I want to talk about what I’m made of, about everything that I am. Because if you hide it, it’s a life-or-death situation.
—Ricky Martin, People interview, 2021


In a sentiment that echoes the other quotes we have seen, in a 2021 interview with People magazine, pop star Ricky Martin talked about how critical coming out as gay was for his mental well-being. He refers to his sexuality, a relatively modern term that refers to the capability or capacity one has for romantic or sexual interest in a particular sex or gender. Sexuality is often considered tightly tied to one’s identity, e.g. one is gay, straight, queer, etc., which is why it can feel so important for people to be unashamed and open about it.


I ask those of you who are still hiding to come out, come out wherever you are, please don’t be afraid. And I hope that you know that I’m here to hold your hand whenever you decide to jump into this wonderful pool of people who refuse to be hidden.
—Lena Waithe, Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, 2018


Hidden means “concealed; obscure; covert.” Actress Lena Waithe is using the term hidden here to refer to members of LGBTQ who are “in the closet.” She is encouraging them to “come out,” as in come out of the closet, an expression that means “to publicly announce a belief or preference that one has kept hidden, especially one’s sexual preference.”


You deserve to be affirmed, you deserve to be seen, you deserve all the happiness, all the joy.
—Janet Mock, ACLU interview, 2014


The word affirmed has a variety of meanings, including “supported by the approval, recognition, or encouragement given by others.” Writer and trans activist Janet Mock uses this word to highlight that LGBTQ people should not just be tolerated but supported by one’s community and society more generally. Recognizing someone’s preferred gender identity by, for example, using their personal gender pronouns, is one important form of affirmation.


None of this should be a conversation. We should just accept people for who they are.
—Dan Levy, ABC News, 2020


A sentiment similar to affirmation is acceptance. This is what actor Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek mentions in his comments before serving as grand marshal in the NYC Pride. The verb accept has a variety of meanings, including “to regard as normal, suitable, or usual.” Accept is often mixed up with except; you can learn more about the difference between these two words in our article here.


I … feel like Pride is a great opportunity for all of us to like, not only celebrate ourselves but also bring new people into the fold of allyship and into the fold of awareness.
—Jonathan Van Ness, Out interview, 2019


Media personality and LGBTQ advocate Jonathan Van Ness notes that Pride can build not only queer community but also allyship, a noun meaning “the status or role of a person who advocates and actively works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view and under its leadership.” The word allyship was our Word of the Year in 2021.


It became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.
—Zachary Quinto, 2011


After hearing about the tragic death by suicide of 14-year-old gay rights activist Jamey Rodemeyer, actor Zachary Quinto came out in a 2011 blog post. Quinto writes that there is still progress to be made in achieving equality for LGBTQ people. If he had written this post more recently, he may have used the word equity instead. Equality means “the state of being the same,” whereas equity means “fair and just.” You can learn more about the differences between these two terms here.


Just by the nature of making the choice to be true to who I am, I’m political. Sometimes that’s all you need to do: Show up and be black, gay and Christian in America and actually say it out loud. And refuse to let anything or anybody take that away from you.
—Billy Porter, Desert Sun interview, 2014


As we noted, demonstrating Pride often has political implications, as actor Billy Porter said in a 2014 interview. Political primarily means “of, relating to, or concerned with politics.” This doesn’t necessarily have to refer to electoral politics, that is, related to elections, but anything that influences the government or policy. Political comes from the Latin polīticus, meaning “civic.”


If a transvestite doesn’t say I’m gay and I’m proud and I’m a transvestite, then nobody else is going to hop up there and say I’m gay and I’m proud and I’m a transvestite for them, because they’re not transvestites.
—Marsha P. Johnson, interview in Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation, 1972 [1992]


Marsha P. Johnson was a trans activist and leader in early Pride marches. In this quote, she explains why it’s important that she is proud of her identity. This quote and the meaning of the word proud helps us understand why Pride is so important for the LGBTQ community. Proud is an adjective meaning “feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself (often followed by of, an infinitive, or a clause).” Pride is the noun that refers to being in this state.


Without community, there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression.
—Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” 1979


In 1979, Black lesbian academic and poet Audre Lorde spoke at a feminist conference for the 50th anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal work The Second Sex. She criticized the largely white audience for not including the lesbian, poor, Black, or “Third World” women at their conference. In this quote from the speech, she argues that they need to build a more diverse community if there is to be liberation, “the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group.” Building this community to advocate for rights is an important part of Pride.

These quotes remind us that Pride Month is a time of celebration and action for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. Want to learn more about the history of Pride Month? Check out our article here. If you want to know more about what every letter in the initialism LGBTQIA+ stands for, you can find out here.

Min Straussman is a freelance writer and educator from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A frequent contributor to Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, his work has also appeared in Hey Almabeestung, and other publications. He lives in Paris. For more by Min, read: Terms For Understanding The Diversity Of Jewish American Life | A Language Of Pride: Understand The Terms Around LGBTQ Identity |7 Meaningful Ways To Express Your Gratitude | 19 Trailblazing Quotes From Women Of Color On The Pursuit Of Suffrage | 15 Earth Day Quotes That Remind Us To Appreciate And Preserve Our World

Learn more about the meaning behind "Pride" here.

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