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Brendan Haley on The Stay Proud Project

Tim Gunn, Alexandra Billings and more share their stories with the Stay Proud Project…

Remembrance is an ability of boundless impact and importance, especially for any person belonging to a minority group such as the LGBTQ+ community. The time for remembrance, Pride month, is once again upon us – sounding off it’s annual queer fanfair with the promise of sexual freedom, the streaming of vodka cocktails, death drops in the middle of busy motorways, and choirs of queer people beating their chests in pride. It’s a happy time, but one incumbent on us to look backward so as to examine where our history has taken us up to this moment, and to remember in what fires we were made. This is a time for The Stay Proud Project.

In February of this year, queer british outlet Attitude Magazine, ran an op-ed by Dylan Jones suggesting that the new generation of queer people needn’t depend upon the history of their predecessors. Jones states how monsters like shame and homophobia have subsequently faded into something like memory or myth and therefore should not spur forth feelings of guilt or even gratefulness from today’s LGBTQ+ youth.

Jones, full of misplaced pride in his ignorance, incited harsh backlash from the community. This backlash allowed The Stay Proud Project to be born – a series in collaboration with the LGBT Center of Los Angeles dedicated to telling the stories of everyday LGBTQ+ people, celebrities, public figures, so as to remind the new torch bearers the importance of history they share.

Helmed by Andrew Putschoegl and Sam Harris, The Stay Proud Project has hosted some 80 interviews over the course of two weekends, on both coasts of North America, providing a podium for people from across the spectrum identity to speak up, and show that they remain proud of who they are.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

– George Santayana

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