A Letter To All Who Spend Pride Month in the Closet

June 25, 2024

Mariana O. (she/her) is a dreamer, fighter, and creator. Born in Mexico City in 1999, Mar has flourished in the creative industry. At just 22, her passion for film and television earned her the role of Festival Director for the International University Film Festival LANTERNA 2022. She currently works at the prestigious Morelia International Film Festival, a globally renowned event. As a recent graduate with a major in Communication Studies and a specialization in Film and Television Production, Mariana is making her mark in the entertainment industry through her narrative talents in screenwriting and directing. Mariana is also a dedicated advocate for destigmatizing mental illnesses and encouraging people to seek help. In April 2022, she shared her personal struggles with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and an eating disorder on social media. Earlier this year, Mariana co-founded the NGO FundaMental with her mother and best friend. The organization aims to foster open conversations about mental health, therapy, and medication across Mexico and provides treatment scholarships. Though FundaMental is in its early stages, Mariana and her team are determined to break the stigma and revolutionize mental health in Mexico. Mariana’s daily journey toward recovery is fueled by music, film, reading, yoga, and mindfulness sessions, embodying strength and resilience.

This story took place in Mexico

Pledge to Take Action

(Created by Mariana Ogarrio)

Dear Friend,

We may not have met before, and this might be the first time you’re hearing from me. Hello! On this special day, I want to share some heartfelt words with you. If you’re reading this, the title of this Channel Kindness story likely resonated with you, and you might be spending this Pride Month in the closet. If that’s the case, I’m extremely honored to share my thoughts and wishes with you.

I spent many Pride Months in the closet—22 to be precise—and I vividly recall wanting to be a part of it. I would look up images of parades from around the world, listen to podcasts and conversations about the meaning of pride, and watch countless movies with LGBTQIA+ representation. These were activities I truly enjoyed, yet I always did them privately, in secret. I remember feeling terrified that someone would discover what I was doing, that they would see through my eyes and into my soul, and realize that I was, in fact, gay.

I was overwhelmed by fear more than once. With that fear came shame, anger, and above all, denial. This June marks my second Pride Month out of the closet, yet that does not lessen the pain or validity of my past experiences. I look back on all those years of hiding myself from the world, concealing my identity, and denying myself the possibility of being my authentic self, and all I can do is hold that younger Mariana with love and kindness. Now, hopefully, you can do the same.

In the end, I spent all those years closeted because I didn’t feel safe coming out. I wasn’t ready; I still had many things to process, accept, and make peace with. So yes, I know firsthand that coming out of the closet is not easy—far from it. It might be your biggest battle yet. Whether due to cultural beliefs, lifelong upbringing, internal battles, or the fear of rejection and discomfort, I understand that coming out of the closet is an immense challenge.

Nevertheless, if you’re spending 2024 Pride Month in the closet, here is something I would like to tell you: You are seen, you are loved, you matter, your voice matters, and your happiness matters. Whether you have total clarity of who you are, your identity, and your preferences, or you are someone who is actively figuring out your sexuality: I see you and I root for you, your happiness, and peace. 

To you, my friend, who is spending these days of community in silence: 

You will find a safe space.

You will find strength.

You will find joy and you will find love. 

You are worthy of living life as your true, authentic self. 

Not long ago, I stood where you are today, feeling like I was constantly on the outside looking in. Today, as I live my truest self out of the closet, I can tell you: take your time. There is no right or wrong timing in this process. And remember, I will always have your back. Your community has your back. We are here to support you, validate you, and always lift you up.

So to you, my friend, who is spending this 2024 Pride Month in the closet, don’t lose hope, it might just be the last one.

I’m sending all my love, strength, and resilience your way. Happy Pride!

In kindness, 


Pledge to Take Action