#OwnYourPride. This hashtag, created by L.A. Pride, is a simple means of expressing acceptance, compassion, and self-love. Social media is undoubtedly a medium of unparalleled power, but how we choose to utilize that power defines our collective state of mind. L.A. Pride, and the annual LGBTQ+ pride parade in Los Angeles, California, is choosing wisely.
#OwnYourPride is brilliant because it makes self-love accessible and infectious. It has become a way to showcase young individuals who are, indeed, owning their pride and changing the world. The campaign transcends a mere hashtag, however, as it centers around videos featuring different LGBTQ+ activists and role models.
One example is Zoey Luna, @iamzoeyluna on Instagram, a self-proclaimed “teen activist, YouTuber, and artist.” Luna is a quintessential embodiment of unapologetic self-love, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community actively using her Instagram account to express her thoughts on activism and acceptance. From her #ownyourpride feature, personal and emotional stories denouncing the effects of gender double standards, particularly ensuring that all students in schools have equal opportunities regardless of gender or body type, to advocating for the trans community with GLAAD and ACLU campaigns, Luna is doing all that she can to utilize social media for creative self-expression and activism.
Another activist featured in the campaign is Addison Rose Vincent or @breakthebinary on Instagram. Vincent is a “transfeminine genderqueer feminist activist, organizer and educator,” and an extraordinarily powerful voice in the queer community. She #OwnsHerPride through community organizing; setting up HIV education and testing events, speaking at panels regarding queer issues, and by advocating for better sex education and more accessible resources.
I am a queer seventeen-year-old girl, and to have such an accessible, constant stream of inspiring individuals and young members of my community is invaluable to my journey of self-acceptance. Seeing people like Zoey Luna and Addison Rose Vincent is not only helpful, it is essential. When we utilize our channels of connection to spread self-love rather than trample upon it, we change lives, and we shake the world. Keep on #OwningYourPride and keep on breaking boundaries with kindness, especially kindness towards yourself.