By Ryan Tristan Jin


My pride continues to be a work in progress.


I always knew I was different, and that was an instinctual feeling way before I fell hard for my first man crush—Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus.


I was fortunate with my coming out story. I sat down with my parents before moving to college and told them I was in a long-term relationship with a man. They embraced me, and told me nothing would change. In hindsight, I guess I had nothing to worry about—my family had always been accepting—shout out to my grandma for regularly reminding me that her hairdresser was gay before I actually came out.


I got to college, and only came out to my closest friends. I eventually met my first boyfriend who had also just kicked his “straight-curious” habit. My pride soared during that unexpected second we first awkwardly held hands in public, and crashed suddenly five minutes after a stranger belligerently yelled, “faggot”. Our hands slipped back into our pockets and we both silently knew life would be different.


Fast-forward a decade later—I’ve fallen in love with a beautiful human being. He’s the Abbi Abrams to my Ilana Wexler, and gives me that feeling of being bundled in a comforter with the AC on. He keeps me grounded, inspired, and most importantly he is my shoulder-to-shoulder soldier. I am proud to hold his hand everyday.


Up until the day I pass, my notion of what pride means to me will continue to ebb and flow with the love and even hatred I experience. With time I have come to realize all experiences both cheerful and sad have lead me to find my true self, and along the way, connect with people who sincerely love me as I am.