Today, I turn 27 & I have to share what today & what Pride means to me.

I am an uncloseted gay cisgender man, serving as an Officer in the US Air Force, working as an ICU Nurse, living 2,000 miles from my hometown.

I live unafraid, unapologetic, & I have to recognize my privilege - the family I was born into, the field of work I’m in, the city I was raised. I am a culmination of my upbringing, of all the support I’ve ever received. I live a privileged life, but this doesn’t make me naïve. I live with awareness, with the history of my community ingrained within me. I live knowing Stonewall, remembering Matthew Shepard, not forgetting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” recognizing my ability to marry openly, repeating the names from Pulse.

June is such a powerful month & like each of our coming out stories, Pride is unique to every one of us. This year I’m traveling to New York for the first time to celebrate & march my first pride on the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. I’ll march in a celebration, aware that it didn’t start like this, & understanding we still have to.

I’ll march with my parents who unconditionally love me, with my sister who has always been my best friend, with my family who has shown unyielding support, & with the friendships I’ve made that continue to strengthen over time.

Today, I thank & celebrate you because this year I’ll be marching with every single one of you reading this.
Because I realize & know, that I only live this vibrantly because of you.

“I’m marching for that part of me that was once too afraid to march and for all the people who can’t march, the people living lives like I did. Today, I march to remember that I’m not just a me. I’m also a we. And we march with pride.” — Nomi Marks