When trans women of color led the way in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, Pride was born. It was a movement against police harassment and to claim space for a marginalized community. By fighting back, members of New York City’s queer community signaled they would not be pushed into the shadows anymore.
The Stonewall Riots are part of a decades-long campaign for LGBTQ visibility, inspired by the belief that accepting and celebrating ourselves and our community — even when society won’t accept or celebrate us — is a radical act. The courage to come out transformed LGBTQ people’s status in society, and in the face of continued discrimination, it remains a powerful weapon to guard one of our most powerful resources: our mental health.
LGBTQ people have long known the political and personal power of self-love, and now mental health research has caught up. Social support, self-acceptance, and an affirming community have all been shown by researchers to improve LGBTQ people’s mental health. Meanwhile, LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people who report a lack of acceptance for themselves and their own identities, experience increased depression.
Inspiring Quotes From LGBTQ Activists and Icons
How do we love ourselves in a world that frequently continues to send the message that we don’t belong? Let these words of wisdom from LGBTQ activists and icons lead the way.
- “I can’t be there for other people unless I’m there for myself. I can’t really work to push our movement without really investing in myself. By investing in yourself you’re also investing in your community. “ —Dior Vargas, queer Latina mental health advocate and activist
- “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” —Audre Lorde, black feminist lesbian activist and icon
- “We are all stronger, smarter, talented, beautiful, and more resilient than we were told.” —transgender activist CeCe McDonald
- “I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you.” —Janet Mock, writer, TV host, and transgender activist
- “Every person felt like they didn’t belong, or at some point felt like they didn’t need to carry on, they weren’t needed. So I think it’s important to show each other, “Look, we’re all in this together, we all feel this way, let’s work together.” —LGBTQ activist, speaker, and social media influencer Cole Ledford
- “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, actress and transgender activist
- “Once you’ve done something that you used to think was impossible, what could ever really scare you again?” —Ellen Page, actress and LGBTQ activist, on coming out
- “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” —Oscar Wilde, writer and gay provocateur
- “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” —Alice Walker, writer and womanist
- “Hope will never be silent.” —Harvey Milk, legendary gay activist
While a struggle remains to secure full equality for all LGBTQ people, we hope the words of queer leaders who have led the way inspire us to keep moving forward. Wishing you a Pride full of joy, community, and self-love!