Guest Columnist Mariel E. Addis: Proud Without Pride

Posted: 2022-05-02 16:01:37 Modified: 02/05/2022 16:00:05 I was sad to hear that there would be no Noho Pride 2022 parade and festi...

Posted: 2022-05-02 16:01:37

Modified: 02/05/2022 16:00:05

I was sad to hear that there would be no Noho Pride 2022 parade and festival. Potential organizers cited the difficulty of putting something like Pride together due to the enormity of planning a such a big event in such a short amount of time, especially when COVID has made planning for anything over the past two years and more quite difficult.

I was in high school when Northampton held their first Pride parades. As a current member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m very embarrassed to say that when I was in high school, as a WASP young man who hadn’t come to terms with all of my gender and sexual orientation issues, I couldn’t understand why having a pride parade was important. I couldn’t understand why so many people felt the need to show their own individual “pride” by protesting, marching and fighting for their rights. I’m doing it now.

I don’t want to come across as a petty, heartless child – that was never me and that’s certainly not how I was brought up. I have always cared for others and never put people down for who they are in terms of gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity or any other category you can find. I just never understood the extreme importance of being visible in a positive way and fighting for equality.

Having worked in the very white, very masculine engineering career for 20 years after college, and working in the very different non-engineering jobs I’ve had since coming out and transitioning to a woman, have exposed to a virtual treasure trove of diverse people – and I couldn’t be happier with the experience.

Currently, I work in the mental health field and enjoy my relationships with my colleagues, many of whom live locally, but many are travel workers, from across the country and around the world. Meeting all of these people, as well as going through my own transgender journey, made me understand unequivocally why showing your own personal pride and standing up for your rights and the rights of others is so critical in this fractured world. It also showed me why it is so important to honor and celebrate the diversity of others.

I marvel at the uniqueness of people on this planet, and the more people I meet, the more people I want to meet. I want to travel where my friends and colleagues are from, understand their local culture, try their local cuisine, learn about their religion if it’s different from mine, basically discover the places that shaped these people that I admire and love.

As a trans woman in this society, nothing is handed to me like before I transitioned. I have to be more selective about where I go, who I befriend and be ready for who knows what kind of reception from others – and I don’t think I stand out that much. As a white man, things were easier in many ways, but I never felt like I took advantage of this privilege or others because of it, probably because being a man doesn’t bother me. never seemed quite right.

So this year, even without the Noho Pride Parade, a parade I’ve been to at least three times in the past six years, I will feel proud – glorious pride, not vain, selfish pride. I have worked long and hard to reach this wonderful place in my life and I deserve to be proud, like everyone else on this planet.

Mariel Addis is originally from Florence. She left the area for 16 years but returned in 2013 and loves being back in the Valley.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest Columnist Mariel E. Addis: Proud Without Pride
Guest Columnist Mariel E. Addis: Proud Without Pride
Newsrust - US Top News
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