Jasan M. Ward; New York City
I truly became aware of Pride Month and the nationwide celebrations during my sophomore year at Cornell University. At this time in 1992, I was still in the beginning stages of my journey to embrace myself as a gay man. I was out to a few close friends, but mainly kept my sexuality hidden from the larger campus community.
Someone in my inner circle suggested we go to NYC for Pride and walk in the parade with the "Queer Ivies." After a few debates, discussing why we needed to do this, I caved in and we drove to the city. Being in NYC for Pride was one of the best experiences in my life. For the first time, I felt free. Having grown up in a small suburb outside of Albany, N.Y., I had never been around so many people, in all their glorious colors, shapes and sizes, who were like me: "GAY." It was like my coming out party that I shared with thousands of other people.
Pride to me then, as it does now, represented a sense of belonging and connection to others, who have fought and struggled, not only to feel accepted by others, but to accept themselves as well.