With Pride

This Pride was not the month we expected, but it’s the one we needed. We’ve seen communities across the globe come together on behalf of equality and justice, transforming everyday people into powerful voices and leaders.

In celebration, we think about this sentiment and about the leaders who have led with pride since the beginning —from Marsha P. Johnson and the early leaders of the Stonewall Riots to the organizers from BIPOC communities behind our modern movements. We champion all who move forward with pride.

We’ve partnered with a few friends to explore what Pride means to them, what they’ve learned from the generation before us, how they’re continuing the fight today, and their hopes for sustained change and activism in the next generation.

@sherente
@vincint

VINCINT

He/Him/His Singer, Artist

"I feel most proud of my community when we come together for causes that go beyond the things that we need. When we step into the fight for others and show up for them when the world won’t!"

"To the generations before me, thank you for not giving up. There was so much fighting against you and you stood up and screamed for your rights. That will always make me smile, knowing I come from a long line of fighters."

Sherente Mishitashin

TwoSpirit (He/She/They) Artist, Student, Writer

"I think for most queer people, people who are different, the notion of living with pride begins with self-acceptance. Many people talk about having to come out to themselves before they can come out to anyone else. We hide the truest parts of ourselves and at the beginning simply recognizing who you are and loving who you are is a reclamation."

"Stir things up, keep pushing, keep surprising people, dodging peoples’ expectations, and twisting them inside out. When I look to the younger generation, I have hope and I would tell them of their power, and not to wait—the time is now."

@sherente
@bekkagunther and @denisesantoro1

Bekka Gunther
and wife, Denise Santoro

She/Her/Hers Photographer, Director, Co-founder of @talkaboutnoi

"Living with pride for me is about knowing yourself, exploring who you are, and then committing to be that person no matter what. I used to feel like I had to look or act a certain way to fit into the community, but now I know that I can be femme one day and masculine the next and no matter what I’m still me and I’m still queer and no one can take that away from me."

"I would tell the generation before me 'thank you.' You have paved the way for me to come out, get married, and hold my wife’s hand while walking down the street. And your sacrifices have allowed me the freedoms that you didn’t get to have. So, thank you."

Denise Santoro
and wife, Bekka Gunther

She/Her/Hers Producer, Writer, Co-founder of @talkaboutnoi

"For me, the search for pride was a long one. I couldn't be proud of who I was because no one knew me. I was really scared to speak my truth, in fact I came out just three years ago, but let me tell you, that was one of the most painful, beautiful, and releasing sensations of my whole life."

"Fear can control you and everything you need is on the other side of the fear."

@bekkagunther and @denisesantoro1
@danielpeddle and @thesecretgallery

Daniel Peddle
and partner of 20 years, Drew Dasent

He/Him/His Artist, film maker, Casting Director

"I moved from rural North Carolina to New York City in 1994. As a child I thought something was wrong with me. Art was my only escape. I found purpose in my ability to express myself and in some respects, feeling like an outsider helped me gain a unique voice, but I was intensely lonely and felt isolated on every level. When I moved to NYC, I started to understand that I am part of a vibrant community that has contributed enormously to culture. That I have a family beyond my blood that supports and embraces me. That I am not a mistake, but exactly as I am meant to be. All my shame has been replaced by love and pride thanks to New York City."

"Learn your history. It will help you more than anything in creating a new inclusive and peaceful world."

Drew Dasent
and partner of 20 years, Daniel Peddle

He/Him/His Casting Director

"The person who has most influenced me would be Prince in his early years. Growing up in a very religious household, I didn’t have much support or encouragement to pursue my own path or to just be myself. The first time I heard the Prince song 'Controversy' and the lines '...am I black or white, am I straight or gay...' it blew me away. I realized that I could actually be whoever and whatever I wanted to be and that was okay. Seeing someone the same color as me being so unapologetic—he was both masculine and feminine and reveled in it gave me confidence that there was a whole world out there with people who would accept me. And if they didn’t, that was okay, too."

"This is your life and you’re free to live it however you wish. You don’t have to justify yourself. It’s a beautiful experience. Enjoy it."

@danielpeddle and @thesecretgallery
@honeydijon

Honey Dijon

She/Her/Hers Artist, DJ, Musician, Producer, Creative

"The first person that allowed me to see myself and to accept myself was Connie Fleming. When I first moved to New York, she was the only dark-skinned trans woman of color that I saw who was celebrated for her beauty, her talent, and her wit. She also walked the runways of Thierry Mugler and Vivienne Westwood, was in the George Michael 'Too Funky' video in the red cowgirl sequin outfit, and she was just such a force of nature. She made me realize that I could be beautiful, that I could be an artist, that I could be a model, that I could do whatever I wanted to do.”

“Just because someone told you something, doesn’t make it true. All of the things that people bullied you for, laughed at you for, didn’t understand you for, those are the things that make you unique, beautiful, talented, and wonderful. And if you lived by their limitations the world would not know the beauty that you are as a human being.”

Ysaunny Brito

She/Her/Hers Model

"It was hard for me when I was younger because I didn’t know how to tell my parents and the world about my sexuality, but after I spoke to my family about it, everything became so easy. I thought they might not understand, but they gave me the best answer that I could hope for: 'You are our daughter and we will love you and support you no matter what."

"Love is love no matter which way it comes. Never be afraid of loving, never be afraid of being yourself."

@ysaunnybrito

50% of the purchase price from the sale of the Club Monaco Pride Sleeveless T-Shirt will be donated to the Stonewall Community Foundation, a New York-based group created in support and celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community.

stonewallfoundation.org SHOP NOW
@vincint