Celebrating Pride 2023! Chris Cantu, LAMBDA NextGen
Celebrating Pride 2023!
Pride is being comfortable in my skin and prideful in my identity.
By Chris Cantu (he/him)
LAMBDA NextGen Committee Co-Chair
“Pride should be felt and celebrated all year round, but June is a friendly reminder to show love for our community.”
As part of the Chamber’s Pride Month celebration, we are profiling Chamber Leaders and Chamber Members to share their perspectives on what Pride means to them.
Pride is being comfortable in my skin and prideful in my identity. It’s being excited to celebrate myself, with myself, as boldly as I can express it. Pride for me has grown stronger over the years. Pride can be a public celebration I share with the community or a quiet, inward feeling unique to myself. Pride is feeling the joy of helping connect others at happy hours and events with LAMBDA NextGen and the Chamber. Pride takes on the shape of so many different forms, but Pride is a wonderful thing to have.
My first memory of Pride was my first Pride. It coincided with my 22nd birthday when the parade was still held in Montrose. It was jam packed with people, and I remember it being blisteringly hot but ecstatic to celebrate the community with my closest friends. The best memory was walking in the Parade one year. The energy from the crowd as we walked through the streets of downtown was electrifying and downright incredible. It was wild and awesome to experience Pride while in the Pride parade itself.
It’s important to remember how far we’ve come as a community. We’ve made huge advancements and scored some major wins. But there’s still work to do. Pride Month can be a lot of wonderful things, but it’s also an important time to remind and educate ourselves about the strong figures of our past like Marsha P. Johnson and Harvey Milk that helped plant the seeds for the growth we see today.
Pride should be felt and celebrated all year round, but June is a friendly reminder to show love for our community and remember those who paved the path we’re walking on.
Also, Pride Month is a great opportunity to celebrate and patronize LGBTQ+ owned businesses. It’s one of the reasons I am glad to be part of the Chamber to help support the LGBTQ+ business community as well as LGBTQ+ Young Professionals through LAMBDA NextGen.
To be an LGBTQ+ business/owner during Pride Month is more reason to celebrate! LGBTQ+ businesses are proof we’re being heard, achievements are being made, and that we’re here to stay. Pride Month can be an opportunity for these businesses to be visible during the festival and/or Parade, embracing the LGBTQ+ identity and promoting diversity, equality, and safe spaces for the community and its allies.
Chris Cantu is a Past President of LAMBDA NextGen, which is now a formal program of the Chamber supporting LGBTQ+ Young Professionals in the region. He serves as the Committee Co-Chair for the LAMBDA NextGen program.
Learn more about the LAMBDA NextGen Program at lambdanextgen.lgbt