Though the vast majority of the U.S's Pride festivals have been cancelled, there's still reasons to be proud. In a series shot by Atlanta-based photographer Ahmad Barber, we ask eight LGBTQ+ where theirs comes from.
VICTORYA WAGNER / KEY WORD: JOY
Honestly, I'm from the [San Francisco] Bay Area, raised in Atlanta, and it feels amazing to be a Black queer in the South. I'm proud because I'm expressive and a beautiful strong individual. It feels even better demonstrating my purpose through my identity.
DANIEL EDWARDS / KEY WORD: FREEDOM
The freedom to explore and be all that I am without societal constraints. My sexuality puts me outside of the widely accepted sexual/gender norm and the breath of existence is vast outside that box. Instead of being stuck on wanting to be like everyone else, I embrace all the possibilities and joy of being different.
My Black queer identity has led me to my magic. My magic is unique, strong, addictive, and freeing.
RASHAWN WILLIAMS / KEY WORD: EXPRESSION
The fact I can be as masculine or as feminine as I want. I've always been able to celebrate both ends of the spectrum and that's something that I feel a lot queer people of color may struggle with. There is so much strength and power in being you and true.
NIYO MALIK / KEY WORD: PERSEVERANCE
There's so much beauty and strength in the intersections of my identity. I draw a great sense of pride in knowing that my community has persevered through so much to shift the global culture forward to a place of freedom and acceptance through a commitment to being our authentic selves, even when it hasn't always been popular or lucrative.
LEE HARDNETT & NA'FEE LIGHTY / KEY WORD: UNAPOLOGETIC
What makes us most proud about our Black queer identity is that we're unapologetic about it. We're our most authentic selves everyday all day and live our truths no matter the judgement of others. At the end of the day if we love and accept ourselves, we don't care who doesn't.
KARA LEWIS / KEY WORD: STRENGTH
I'm proud of my Black queer identity because this body that carries me is rejected in so many spaces around the world, and yet I step into every room knowing that I'm supposed to be there. The misconceptions about my identity give me strength to be loudly Black and queer wherever I go.
It is the absolute knowledge that I carry with me daily, that I was divinely placed in this body for a purpose. I was given unique lenses to see this world through, and only I can see clearly wearing them.
EL LEWIS / KEY WORD: INFINITE
The part of my Black queer identity that makes me the proudest is that I'm living infinitely without limitations that society has constructed. I'm living for me and by doing that I'm telling a story of what it means to be Black and gay in the 21st century. To do this feels revolutionary because I am, in fact, free to be and to love without limits.