Pride begins first and foremost with the ability to see oneself. Self-perception can be challenging for any human being. If you carry inside of you an identity or an experience that is disparaged or shamed by others, the challenge is magnified. Many people, not just queer people, know a lot about these dynamics. But not seeing your true self creates a problem. If being seen by others is a prerequisite for a relationship of trust, being able to see yourself is certainly a prerequisite for self-trust, which is fundamental to a consciously chosen ethical life.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow writes about the importance of self-perception in the essay “Up from Pain,” in which he names his experience of surviving childhood sexual assault and explores with nuance his awareness of his bisexuality:
Daring to step into oneself is the bravest, strangest, most natural, most terrifying thing a person can do, because when you cease to wrap yourself in artifice you are naked, and when you are naked you are vulnerable. But vulnerability is the leading edge of truth. Being willing to sacrifice a false life is the only way to live a true one.