Leading up to this month, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what pride means to me. And one of the thoughts that crossed my mind was why is the rainbow flag a symbol of pride? I quickly found out it’s because the colors reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. And did you know the original creator of the flag had a different meaning for each color?

Red stands for LIFE. The color of blood and fire. Red is assertive, daring, determined, energetic, impulsive and aggressive.

Orange stands for HEALING. Sometimes it isn’t always easy showing your Pride. We, the LGBTQ+ community, all at some point have had to heal from the, sometimes traumatic, experiences growing up being different. I grew up in the Mormon church, and boy that was not easy. And I know others journeys have been far more difficult than I can even imagine, so I am not sharing this for sympathy. I often get asked where my confidence comes from, and to be honest every time I get asked, it shocks me. Because for YEARS I was anything but confident. It’s easy for you to see a loud, confident, flamboyant gay boy living his best life, but it has taken me YEARS and years to heal the scars from my past. From food getting thrown at me in the lunchroom, guys messing with me in the locker rooms, getting caught wearing my sisters dresses and my father ripping them off of me in disgust. Constantly getting the word “fag” or “gay” yelled at me in the halls. Having to hear all the time at church that being gay is a sin and you will never go to “heaven.” People telling me I’ll never have children. Thinking there was something genetically wrong with me for 18 YEARS. These are just some of the many many battles I have had to face in my life. I tear up even writing this. At times it saddens me as I feel a huge part of my childhood was robbed from me as I wasn’t able to live my authentic self. PLEASE, make the healing process easier. Be kind to those who are different from you. If you see someone hurting, do something. Be a healer! You have no idea the impact you have. I’ve been so blessed to have the best of friends to help heal me throughout my process of coming out and I will forever be grateful to them. You know who you are.

YELLOW stands for SUNLIGHT. The creator of the Pride flag chose yellow to stand for SUNLIGHT. When I found this out, it immediately meant two different things to me. I think sunlight is a symbol of hope, that even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. Whatever you are going through, there is a brighter tomorrow waiting for you. And then I thought of the more literal side of sunshine, and how studies have proven that it helps reduce depression, lower high blood pressure, improve your sleep, and brain function! So spend some time outside today, and when you can’t find the sunshine, BE THE SUNSHINE.

Green stands for NATURE. Whether part of the LGBTQ+ community or not, I think we all know that now more than EVER, we all must take a stand and protect mama nature! Building a better tomorrow doesn’t just involve being a good person to others, be a good person to earth! Recycle, use less water, use reusable shopping bags, etc! Some people say being gay isn’t “natural.” I can’t help but question how love is not natural..in any state, love is love. It might just be the most natural thing I can think of about us humans. The “natural” argument, runs deeper for me this pride season as I strive to educate myself beyond just my experiences as a “G” in LGBTQ+. Many say Trans are not “natural,” and this breaks my heart. We, the LGBTQ+ community, all just want to be loved and accepted for who we are. Someone living their most authentic, genuine self? Sounds pretty natural to me. This pride season please keep in mind and celebrate the whole LGBTQ+ community, not just gays.

BLUE stands for HARMONY. Cannot think of a better word to describe what we, the LGBTQ+ community, are fighting for...balance, understanding, unity, EQUALITY. You can’t achieve harmony if everyone sings the same note.

Purple represents our SPIRIT - the nonphysical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; the soul. When people are intimidated by your strength and happiness, they’ll try to tear you down and break your spirit. Remember, it’s a reflection of their weakness, not a reflection of you. Don’t let life’s challenges harden your heart, let them empower your mind, renew your spirit, and strengthen your soul.

I am overwhelmed with the love and support of my #tyfrenchPRIDE🏳️‍🌈 project. I hope that you learned something new about what #Pride is for the LGBTQ+ community! All photo credit goes to @jacimariesmith, thanks for helping me bring my vision to life!