Proud2Be Founders Totnes Pride 2017 Speech- Totnes Pride
In writing this speech we decided to look at the themes that run through Proud2Be and its work over the last 6 years. Along with pride, community, love and celebration- one thing that stood out and the one I wanted to address today is the theme of sharing our personal and collective stories.
Coming out is not a one-off event but something we do regularly. Whether you are LGBTQ+ or not, we can all relate to coming out because we are all constantly revealing parts of ourselves to others in the hope that we are accepted, loved, understood and believed. It’s part of what makes us human.
Sometimes when sharing our stories, we don’t receive the acceptance, love and understanding that we hope for and deserve. Sharing our stories with the risk of being rejected is not easy. But by sharing them, we are able to acknowledge every part of who we are. And when we are heard, and believed something inside shifts, transforms and heals and consequently effects change not just in our own lives but in others too. We hope and fight for a world where everybody’s story is heard and believed.
Maya and I feel very fortunate that in telling our story others have felt safe enough to share their stories with us and feel a huge sense of responsibility and privilege as people invite us to become part of them. Our stories are what tie us together and when shared they not only open hearts and minds but more importantly free us from the shackles of shame, that ultimately thrive on silence and separation.
My good friend Vonny introduced me to the art of Kintsugi last year. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold. It was introduced to me in such a moving way. During the process, I was asked to see the cracks of the pottery as times in my life that I had felt broken in some way. To also see the cracks as parts of myself that I viewed to be flawed or wrong. The idea of painting gold and shining a light on those perceived flaws, the ‘imperfect’ parts of me, the situations, the people and the experiences that had broken and changed me forever, well it was equally confronting and liberating for me.
I have spent years trying to disguise the things that I thought made me ugly or different in an attempt to be like everybody else. I used to apologise for being LGBTQ+ because I thought that was the biggest break of all.
I make a promise to myself today that instead of hiding, distancing myself from and betraying who I really am, I vow to paint those unique and important parts of myself gold. I invite you to do the same. To reject the idea that you are flawed, unlovable, not worthy or broken in some way. To reclaim those parts of you and to paint them all gold.
We are extremely proud to be here with you all today to celebrate Totnes’ 5th Pride event. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Totnes Pride Action Group who work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that Totnes Pride is an event we can all be proud of.
We would now like to invite you to join us for a minute’s silence to honour all those people who are no longer with us and those who, for whatever reason, cannot be with us today. We dedicate this day to every single one of them.