On Pride: A.J. Bond

Posted by – June 21, 2021
Categories: General

I’m endeavoring to listen to my shame with acceptance and compassion—but without believing it! My shame isn’t actually a sign that I don’t fit in at Pride, it’s a sign of how much Pride means to me now.”

As we at NAB celebrate 2021 Pride—as California begins to open up, and we start to find our footing in these long-anticipated after-times—we caught up with North Atlantic authors to ask how they’re marking the month this year. They passed along their queer reading, art, and audio recs, and explored what Pride means (or doesn’t mean) to them; how community evolved during lockdown; experiences and insights from 2020 that are worth bringing forward; and words of love and support for those who aren’t out—or don’t have the ability to be out—right now. Read on below for the Q&A with A.J. Bond, author of the forthcoming Discomfortable: What is Shame and How Can We Break Its Hold?

What does Pride mean to you? Do you celebrate?

When I first came out of the closet, my shame actually pressured me to reject Pride, and queer community in general, in favor of trying to fit in with heteronormative culture. Unconsciously, that seemed like the safest strategy to meet my core need for belonging. As I gradually worked through the layers of my internalized homophobia, however, I began to recognize how important Pride really is for me—a chance to be seen and accepted as my full authentic self. That’s true belonging. But then my shame pulled a classic trick. It seemed to switch sides! As soon as I realized I wanted to embrace Pride, my shame began to whisper, “Too bad, you don’t fit in there either. You’re not queer enough!” I now know this is just my shame clumsily trying to protect me from any potential social rejection. So this Pride, I’m endeavoring to listen to my shame with acceptance and compassion—but without believing it! My shame isn’t actually a sign that I don’t fit in at Pride, it’s a sign of how much Pride means to me now.


About the Author

Bevin is the publicity and marketing manager at North Atlantic Books.