More than wealth and contributing a great deal of something in the community, many, if not most, successful people in history and of today are driven by their need to be ‘the person who did it’. They want to feel Pride. Pride is the virtue that compels us to aim higher rather than simply get by.

One key aspect of exhibiting pride is being true to one’s self. Pythagoras and Galileo stood up for what they believed, proving the world to be round when everyone believed it was flat. The Wright brothers, who never received their diplomas, became the world’s aviation pioneers. Margaret Thatcher was dubbed the “Iron Lady”, but was not only first woman to be Prime Minister in Britain, but also served the longest. Lynn Conway, who is credited with the invention of generalized dynamic instruction handling used by modern computer processors, but fired from IBM after announcing the intention to transition from male to female. The most recent examples are Peter Thiel, co-founder of Confinity which started PayPal, who is now openly gay, and Lana and Lilly Wachowski, born Lawrence and Andy respectively, who are behind The Matrix, one of the most innovative films ever made.

The Pride flag may be very colorful but just like humanity, the LGBTQ+ community is more than that. What makes the society even more progressive is the fact that support and allyship have stood the test of time and are even stronger than ever. All around the globe, more and more countries are enforcing policies and even laws that protect LGBTQ+ rights – to as simple as ‘preferred pronouns’ or ‘preferred names’, or ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, up to same-sex marriage, domestic partnership, joint adoption, and including civil rights against various types of abuses like censorship, discrimination based on sexual orientation, or eradication of certain prohibitions.

Embracing our truest identity – even more if we’re open and proud of it to the people around us – amidst animosity and adversity is a continuous challenge that results to increased awareness and understanding, ultimately to a more accepting and supporting relationship with other members of the society, our colleagues at work, and most especially with our family and loved ones.

Looking back, it’s the pride of being my truest identity helped make life even better than I expected it to be. I used my ‘poverty’ to work for scholarships up until I graduate college, my introversion to manage ‘peer pressure’ despite being labeled as a snob, and of course my identity as someone who started with confused to being gay geared towards working through what I feel and think and really prioritize for myself and my loved ones. Interestingly, those who bullied me for being me got tired of it, because I realized that apathy was not the key to overcoming bullying, but valuing who and what matters the most is.

Yes, false pride is one of the deadly sins, but it can be a virtue too – a trait exhibiting moral, social, and intellectual excellence. And just like any virtue, if people use pride to power themselves, it needs to be cultivated and refined to work towards the good of the world – a world that is, as cliched as it may sound, more diverse, more inclusive, and truly more progressive one to live in.

About the Author

MJ Calumpang (He • Him • His)
Service Delivery Assurance Manager, Cebu Philippines