Pride To Me is . . .

NIKKI JACKSON & APRIL RHINE | Contributors

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27

JUNE, 2017

My Thoughts

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When we were first approached about writing this article, there was some conflict. Like most couples, we had a difference of opinion. I felt that we did not have to share anything for our lives are private. I also felt that one month, similar to February and black history month, was not sufficient. She felt that an article provided a platform for her voice. She could share her experiences and make others aware about sickle cell. Her voice could also be heard about how her medical and civil liberties that are threatened by the current government administration. We finally agreed that one unified voice should be heard. The following reflects how we feel collectively. That feeling is gratefulness.

Pride to me is being you and being proud of who you are despite what others may think or how they may feel about you. To me, pride is coming out to an extremely strict mother knowing she may disown you. It’s coming out to friends knowing you may lose those friendships.

Pride is spotlighting local organizations of support like OUTMemphis!

OUTMemphis empowers, connects, educates and advocates for the LGBTQ community of the Mid-South. Learn more at outmemphis.org

It’s having a partner that loves, understands, and accepts you and all your flaws. Getting into a relationship is not easy but having a chronic illness such as Sickle Cell Disease makes it much more difficult. I’ve been in several relationships and when I would have a crisis that required a hospitalization they would end it saying they didn’t sign up for this. I’m grateful and proud to have finally found a life partner that accepts all of my sickness and all. It means the world to me to have a partner that stays at the hospital when you’re screaming in pain and there is nothing they can do to help. Just knowing they are there and won’t allow for you to be mistreated is help enough. I’m so thankful to be able to have such a supporting partner as well as for the others that have paved the way for us to be able to express our love for one another so freely. Even though the Obama administration has opened doors for us to be able to get married the current administration is trying to deny us those rights. Trump needs to be prepared for a fight because we will not go down without one. Pride is coming together and fighting for what we believe in and what we stand for.

It’s having a partner that loves, understands, and accepts you and all your flaws.

With our current administration, LGBTQ rights and privileges have been threatened. Despite this dark cloud hovering, I am grateful to live and love openly. Though pride is just the month of June, I live this lifestyle every month, every day, and every second. I’m grateful to have the respect of my peers. I’m grateful that I am accepted to practice my religion without any judgment. I am grateful I have a partner that compliments my weaknesses and flaws. Speaking of my partner, she is a strong black woman. Like any couple, we experience ups and downs. One of our “ups” is growing spiritually. Though we both were raised in the Bible Belt and our lifestyle has been condemned, we have found that religion isn’t confined to just one particular church or denomination. Religion is just like the infinite cultures and ethnicities that are a part of Mother Earth. One of our “downs” is periodically experiencing one of her painful episodes from Sickle Cell. It pains me to see my loved one suffering and I am helpless. I must be strong so that she may overcome her stressful times and be comforted that I am here for her. I have become more aware of Sickle Cell and other chronic illnesses that affect the African-American community. As I stated earlier, I am now thankful that we are so grateful for so many things.

OUTMemphis

OUTMemphis empowers, connects, educates and advocates for the LGBTQ community of the Mid-South.

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