Pride has many different emotional meanings to everyone, because everyone has a unique story that is all their own. In this video series I sat down with various prominent figures in the community both LGBT+ and allies to hear their story and what Pride means to them.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr Tim Seelig, while he was visiting Dallas, to talk about what Pride Month means to him, and why it’s important.
TMP: Introduce yourself.
Tim: Hi. I'm Tim Seelig. I'm currently the artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, and also the Conductor Emeritus of the Turtle Creek Chorale.
TMP: What does Pride Month mean to you?
Tim: The whole concept of Pride is an interesting one, because we are certainly proud of who we are, but it also is a little confusing because we didn't choose who we are. We are who we are. Sometimes I think to be proud of who we are indicates that perhaps somehow it was a choice or something we achieved, and we work really hard to help the world understand that it's not a choice. But I am proud of what we do. I'm very proud of what we do, more than about what we are.
TMP: For those that fee they are alone and unable to come out, what message do you have for them?
Tim: If someone is out there completely alone and feels like they're the only gay, or lesbian, trans person that is in their community, today it's so great because there's so much help on the internet. The internet doesn't always fix the problem of loneliness, for sure. In fact, the internet is making us all even more lonely. But there is someone out there. I think to sort of open your radar to those around you and begin to open up to those closest to you or that you feel might understand. The more you do that, the less alone you're going to feel.
TMP: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self to help with your coming out experience?
Tim: Knowing what I know now, and I've had the privilege and honor of counseling hundreds of young gay and lesbian youth, what I would say now is come out sooner, rip the bandaid off. One of the worst things is coming out to a close friend and then maybe a cousin, and then you never know who knows and who's going to find out and who's going to talk behind your back. When you're ready, just come out. That's my advice. The other way is really painful. Coming out and pulling the bandaid off is no picnic, but I will tell you that the minute you do that you're going to feel so much better. Then you can start to fix things as they will be fixed.
TMP: For those not part of the LGBT+ community that want to be allies, what would you impart on them to be most helpful?
Tim: We depend on our allies more than really our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community. It's the allies that will make a change in our world. Our community itself, the queer community, can scream and fight and protest, but it's only when allies come onboard and are a part of us and believe in us that we really are going to make a change. So if you're out there and you're not LGBTQ and you're listening to this, please find a place to be helpful. Whether that is the local gay chorus, or the MCC church, or any progressive church that is open and affirming.
TMP: Is there anything you would like to say to those viewing this, that we have not specifically covered?
Tim: I started a full-time profession in the LGBTQ community in 1987, so 32 years ago. I've been inside, on the inside looking out. I think what I've learned over 32 years is that it is an overarching momentum that we have. We have little setbacks. We get beat up and we get bullied and we get pushed back, and we have legislation that is passed against us, but I think that age allows you to look at things as they are moving forward and not get quite so upset when there's a little setback. Still certainly protest it, but know that tomorrow is absolutely going to be a better day. And if not tomorrow, next week.
I want to send a special thank you to Tim for being part of this project and helping to bring education around the subject of pride.
Music provided by Bobby Jo Valentine. You can learn more about him at www.BobbyJoValentine.com