Proud of Pride and Myself
By: Diane Billas
This is the first Pride that I’m fully out as pansexual to the world, including to my friends and family. Pride used to be something that I would look at it from afar. Being pansexual and married to a man, I didn’t feel like I had the right to personally celebrate because I felt like a fraud, but I would support all my LGBTQ+ friends during the month. Then during the pandemic, I started to see a therapist and she suggested that I was suffering from internalized bi/panphobia. I wasn’t accepting of myself for being pansexual.
After some deep unpacking sessions, I started to accept myself but realized I needed support from others in the LGBTQ+ community. I was still scared that the LGBTQ+ community wouldn’t accept me, but I went out on a limb and joined a nearby support group and they are filled with the most accepting and kind individuals. They, along with my therapist, helped me accept who I am, and be proud that yes, I too can be a part of Pride and celebrate this community of amazing individuals.
Pride is particularly exciting this year, not only because I’m fully out to the world, but also because my young adult sapphic novel, Does Love Always Win?, is being released on June 20, 2023. Growing up I didn’t have access to queer books, so I wrote the book I wished I read in high school, hoping that it can someday help someone see themselves on the page and not feel so alone.
This book was the impetus for coming out to my family. I wanted to market this book authentically and in order to do that, I needed to be fully out. As the press release was being issued, I drove two hours to tell my family about what my book was really about and that I identify as pansexual. They were so accepting; my mother even said she wished I told them sooner. But before this point, I hadn’t been ready. I needed to accept who I was in order to tell the world.
Pride, to me, is this amazing sense of community and the feeling that I finally belong somewhere. That it’s okay to be myself. It’s a time for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to join together and celebrate.
Diane Billas lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son. When she’s not writing she can be found reading multiple books at once, performing the French horn and piano, or dreaming of the next country she’s going to visit. Diane can be found at dianebillas.com, on Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook @dianebillas, and on Instagram @dianebillaswrites.
Diane Billas is the author of the YA contemporary romance LGBTQ+ novel DOES LOVE ALWAYS WIN? releasing June 2023 and the YA superhero LGBTQ+ novel SUPERFICIAL, releasing September 2024.