"Pride is a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired." ~Oxford Dictionary

From personal values to the general qualities that garner admiration, pride doesn't have a limit or a list of what one can be proud of. It's entirely subjective.

We begin with this definition to hopefully diversify the concept of Pride beyond the confines of corporate western Pride celebrations. In recent years, heightened Pride and LGBTQ2+ visibility and tolerance, have also created more labels, boxes, and binaries within the LGBTQ2+ community, that are not always inclusive with the global queer community of varied faiths, cultures and communities.

There has been an explosion of positivity, community, and visibility in the LGBTQ2+ community, specifically in North American and European countries.

It is a natural human instinct to look for meaning through categorization, compartmentalization, and binaries. However, these binaries within the LGBTQ2+ community, open the door to biases and objectification.

Spotlighting the issues of freedom, inclusion and safety is key to understanding why some people do not feel included within the western LGBTQ2+ narratives and are now Creating and fostering their own communities worldwide, with Pride.

Since the beginning of LGBTQ2+ movements in the west in 1969, the celebration has grown, with new participants, allies, corporate sponsors and locations. Celebrating the LGBTQ2+ community has seemingly never been so inclusive or widespread within the west.

"And yet there are those within the LGBTQ2+ community who do not feel included in the western Pride celebrations or are facing and dealing with issues that western LGBTQ2+ communities are not sensitive to." Mariam Magsi

Multidisciplinary Artist, Mariam Magsi (@mariam_magsi) uses photography to explore and ignite debates around; Who gets to feel at home with Pride? Who gets to be free?

Mariam was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and is currently based in Toronto, Canada. She/they uses photography, video, and inherited textiles to explore various political and relevant themes, such as, constructions of identity, intergenerational trauma, gender, migration, nostalgia and intersectional feminism.

"Pride, as a concept, is not a contemporary western value, it is deeply historical, and it is a gift from BIPOC communities." Says Mariam Magsi. "Contemporary white LGBTQ communities conveniently forget black trailblazers like Marsha P. Johnson, American gay liberation activist, who gave us the LGBTQ movement during the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Today, corporate greed is taking over Pride with mega sponsors and free rainbow-coloured doughnuts. Meanwhile, black and brown LGBTQ2+ communities are fighting for the basic right of survival, living and existence, let alone thriving. Around the western world, trans and gender non-conforming people of colour continue to be at the receiving end of stigma, brutality, social exclusion and even murder. A majority of them are Black and Latinx trans women, including in the USA and Canada. They continue to be denied safety, opportunity and inclusion. As Marsha P. Johnson stated with immense power: "No Pride for some of us, without liberation for all of Us."

Mariam's most recent photographic project, Rebels at Heart, depicting two women in hijab cultivating joy, is currently touring 23 cities in The Netherlands with Pride Photo Exhibition, until January 2023. Photographs in the touring exhibition have been defaced and vandalized, but Mariam says, love will always rise above hate and intolerance.

Mariam's work is inspired by resistance, rebellion and the lived experiences of her loved ones. She also seeks inspiration from trailblazing intersectional feminists and gender theorists who are "instigating change, breaking intergenerational patterns and subverting the narrative."

Mariam deliberately, and courageously brings this courage into her work to confuse, shift and subvert societal norms and gender stereotypes. Rebels at Heart escapes the very boxes and binaries society attempts to put us into.
Mariam Magsi. Burqa Bubble
© Mariam Magsi. Burqa Bubble
Mariam Magsi. You may veil us, but you will never dictate who we love
© Mariam Magsi. You may veil us, but you will never dictate who we love