If You Had a Message to Your Younger, Queer Self, What Would it Be?

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In August 2019, for the second year in a row, I attended Fierté Montreal Pride with my partner, Christiaan.

Montreal Pride has an energy to it that is unique and quite different from Toronto Pride. I don’t know anything about the politics (other than the history of two competing Pride Festivals for several years until one organization finally folded) compared to the political challenges that seem to present every year in Toronto.

Fierté Montreal feels somehow freer, more down to earth, queerer, more inclusive, more “of the people”, and perhaps a bit more radical. And the parade! I can actually see the parade because, while it may only last an hour, it traverses a major artery in Montreal that allows the onlookers to be able to see the floats and marchers. For someone who is 5’8” tall, if there are more than two people deep in front of me I can’t see a damn thing! In Toronto, the parade can last 3–4 hours, with long stops and starts, with onlookers collecting behind barricades hours beforehand, seemingly 10 feet deep.

My friend and colleague Shaun Proulx, who’s company, Shaun Proulx Media Inc. was a media sponsor of Fierté, asked me if I would take part in a video he was producing for his website. The videographer, Samantha Lauzon, met me in the VIP area on the Sunday of the Mega T-Dance final event at the Parc des Faubourgs and asked me two questions,

  1. “What does Pride mean to you.”
  2. “If you had a message to your younger, queer self, what would it be?”

Here is how I answered the second question:

Just take the risk and not be afraid to be who you are. The shame that you may have felt is not your fault. That’s the conditioning of the status quo that made you believe that something was wrong with you, which is absolute bullshit. The more challenging it is to believe this, the more you are on the verge of living your authentic self.

Read the original post and watch the video (with my answer to the first question) on TheGayGuideNetwork.com, “What Does Pride Mean to You? Fierté Montreal Pride 2019.”

Watch the video

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By Darren Stehle

Darren is a leadership coach in Toronto, Canada who helps his clients to connect and embrace their uniqueness and freely create the life they want. He writes and podcasts regularly about Queer Leadership.