Celebrating Pride 2023! Shenice Brown, EmpowerFi
Celebrating Pride 2023!
Pride is about creating a world where people can live their lives authentically.
By Shenice Brown (she/her)
Board Chair, Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce
“For me, Pride is about celebrating who we are as individuals and as a community.”
As part of the Chamber’s Pride Month celebration, we are profiling Chamber Leaders and Members to share their perspectives on what Pride means to them.
My journey to self-acceptance and Pride in my identity has been an interesting one. Growing up, I didn’t know that I was queer. Honestly, I may not have known how to recognize it. Or, was I so deeply convinced that being queer or different was so wrong, according to society and religion? It wasn't until I was in adulthood and after I became a mother that I began to explore my sexuality and gender identity.
I remember feeling so isolated at the beginning of my journey. Everything was so new to me - I wasn’t sure if I should be in hiding. Some people made it seem as if I was throwing my entire life away by listening to my heart and tapping into who I really was...instead of being what society wanted me to be. These people didn't understand or accept my identity. But despite the challenges, I knew that I couldn't deny who I was, and I needed to be true to myself. So, I became so intentional about exploring that.
A few years after moving to Houston, I stumbled on the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. I decided to just attend a few of their events. I had such a warm and inviting experience, and I knew that I wanted to get involved. Being true to myself opened up opportunities for me to become involved in the LGBTQIA+ community and become a leader in my own right. It also helped me realize the importance of representation and visibility, especially for young Black, queer folks that are struggling with their own identity.
Today, I am proud to serve as the Board Chair of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. I volunteer my time and expertise to the Chamber because it allows me to give back to my community and help create a more inclusive and equitable business environment for LGBTQIA+ folks and business owners.
I understand the importance of representation and leadership within the LGBTQIA+ community. I want to do my part in breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive society. I believe that by promoting LGBTQ+ economic empowerment, we can improve the lives of individuals and businesses while also creating a world that is more just and equitable for all.
Pride is about acknowledging the contributions, inequities, and struggles of those who came before us. We owe it to them and certainly to ourselves to continue advocacy for LGBTQIA+ equality and justice. I understand many of the unique challenges faced by our community, and I recognize that some parts of our LGBTQIA+ community are more marginalized than others. While we have come a long way, we still have a long road ahead.
For me, Pride is about celebrating who we are as individuals and as a community. We absolutely deserve to exist. We deserve to be accepted in society. Pride is about creating a world where people can live their lives authentically. Pride is coming together as a community and being the change we want to see.
We’re celebrating love, acceptance, and diversity. We’re celebrating our identity and connecting with our community. I am hopeful that we’re working towards a world where everyone is accepted and celebrated for their own unique, authentic selves!
Shenice is a co-owner of EmpowerFi. EmpowerFi is an LGBTBE® certified business. The firm’s expertise spans across project management, business consulting, and financial services. Learn more about the firm at https://empowerfinanciallife.com/.