Why Are You Proud?

Warmer weather isn't the only reason June brings reason to celebrate — the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage a constitutional right in all 50 states on June 26, making gay marriage legal in the United States. The court has finally ruled that "the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry." LGBT Pride Month never felt quite so sweet.

LGBT Pride Month (officially) started in 1995, when a resolution passed by the National Education Association included the holiday as a way to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan and LGBT history in general. You'll find plenty of pride parades around the country this June, but when you stop to think about it, just what exactly does having LGBT Pride mean?

It's a complicated question, to say the least. Wikipedia defines LGBT pride as "the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements throughout the world."

It's a pretty good definition, but when I went out onto the streets of New York City to ask people why they're proud to be LGBTQ or an ally, I found that many people — particularly those who were LGBTQ themselves — had trouble defining exactly what pride means to them, or why they're proud. (Interestingly, it was straight people who were the quickest to make a statement about why they're proud to be an ally, so take from that what you will.)

Here's what 33 New Yorkers had to say about why they are proud to be LGBTQ or an ally.

James, 33, Gay

Charmagne, 18, Bisexual

Niko, 18, Straight

Pola, 24, "Straight (?)"

Ali, 24, Bisexual

Chase, 24, Straight

Oliver, 24, Straight

Noonna, 31, Straight

Adam, 27, Straight

Joesph, 26, Straight

Georgina, 27, Straight

Adrienne, 31, Multisexual

Elliot, 23, Gay

"Because of all the kids who need hope."

Veronica, 26, Straight

Will, 27, Bicurious

Jennifer, 34, Bisexual

"Because I can own all of myself — and enjoy it all!"

Kate, 25, "Mostly Straight So Far, But..."

Sabina, 25, Straight

Monica, 21, Bisexual & Simon, 26, Bisexual

Katie, 22, Bisexual

"Because I'm so happy, finally, with my girlfriend."

Caitlin, 29, Straight

Dave, 30, Straight

Leigh, 29, Straight

Eric, 39, Gay

"I'm proud to be LGBT because I believe that honesty is the best policy."

Anthony, 33, Gay

"My life is not prescribed. I found my way."

Gabriel, 27, Straight

Lindsey, 28, Straight

John, 27, Straight

Nabil, 30, Straight

Brad, 32, Straight

Juan, 19, Straight

Michael, 39, Gay

Images: Rachel Krantz/Bustle