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When I think about what PRIDE means to me, I’ve recognized that it’s evolved over the years, that is…my answer is contextual and relevant to any given moment along the journey of me discovering and becoming the REAL me.
I remember during those early years of my transition when my visibility and existence was like that of a newborn fawn who was looking to find her stable and mature legs to survive against the wilds of a culture that disapproved of people like me. It was during that infant season where I learned what it was like to finally be free from the shackles of cultural expectations that were placed on me as a transgender woman.
As I grew in stature and confidence, PRIDE then became the backdrop of my activism and community solidarity. It was a season where I acknowledged that I was no longer advocating for just MY existence and well-being, but for the existence and well-being of my entire community. I was growing and expanding in knowledge and experience and recognized that I now had the responsibility of wielding my privilege and access for the benefit of others.
Today, I find myself in a more seasoned space…a spacious place…where there’s more than enough room for everyone. Today, PRIDE is about being an invitation to those who looking to be the best version of themselves. It’s about giving wings to those who have longed to fly but have succumb to remain grounded because of their fear of the unknown. It’s about living a legacy of hope and possibility to those who are looking for a way out.
A few years ago, I was asked to pen a note to my pre-coming out self based on all that I’ve learned. Here’s what I wrote…
"The pain we may experience or the risk of losing everything…pales in comparison to denying the truth of who we are meant to be"
So, to those who are looking for a way out, the only way out is to go within. My hope is that you will listen to your heart and act on its prompting. And with every courageous step you take in the direction of your “Yes”, before you know it, you will look back and be amazed at how far you've come AND who you've become. As someone who is in her season of thriving and flourishing, I can affirm to you, that the view from where I'm standing today is even more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed or imagined.
Happy PRIDE!!

- Grabrielle (She, Her) SLCA member and Guest Blogger

Gabrielle Claiborne has been an out and active trans woman since 2010. Prior to her transition, she owned and operated successful businesses in the construction industry, overseeing multi-million dollar projects nationwide. Today, she is a highly respected trans business owner who was honored by the Atlanta Business Chronicle with their 2019 Outstanding Voice for Diversity and Inclusion Award. In 2015, Gabrielle was recognized as Atlanta’s Best Trans Activist. In 2018, she received Emory University’s Alum of the Year Pride Award, and was chosen by the Georgia Division of the U.S. Small Business Administration as their LGBT Small Business Champion of the Year. Gabrielle’s work has also been recognized in Forbes

Get Gabrielle's book:  Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity here

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