Pride Month is a time when the world’s LGBTQ+ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.
But did you know that before Pride became a celebration, it started out as a protest?
It was called the Stonewall Riots (a.k.a Stonewall Uprising).
On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn — a bar located in Manhattan that provided a safe haven for the city’s gay, lesbian, and transgender community. During that time, homosexual acts were considered illegal and bars and restaurants were at risk for having gay employees and serving gay customers. While the police had raided several gay establishments before, it wasn’t until that night that members of the LGBTQ+ community decided to fight back.
For decades, many members of the LGBTQ+ community struggled to overcome prejudice and be accepted. But today, celebrating Pride means celebrating the LGBTQ+ community for being who they are.
Recently, we spoke with Hapi Listener Gia who talked about his experience as a Hapi Listener, being part of the LGBTQ community, and the importance of community and acceptance.
Please enjoy this interview with Listener Gia, which has been condensed and edited for publication.
HAPI: How did you become a Hapi Listener?
GIA: I was very grateful and delighted to discover the Hapi app while I was in nursing school out of state, away from my usual support system. I was intrigued with the concept of being able to immediately connect with and talk with another individual who would empathetically listen to me. While using the app, one of the Hapi Listeners told me there was an opportunity to become a listener. Even though I was relatively new to the platform, I applied to become a listener once I got the chance. It wasn’t until August 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, that I officially became a Hapi Listener.
I am both a Hapi Listener and Hapi Talker and I enjoy talking to the Hapi Listeners just as much as I enjoy listening to the Hapi Talkers.
I value all of my calls.
HAPI: What does Pride mean to you?
GIA: Pride means living your truth and accepting yourself and others who might identify differently than yourself.
HAPI: How do you celebrate Pride?
GIA: I celebrate pride by connecting with my close friends who also identify as being part of the LGTBQ community.
I also like to offer a safe, inclusive space to other Hapi Talkers who may have a more difficult time during this month. I have noticed an influx of individuals whom I suspect don’t have the support system that they want and need, whether it be in their homes or where they live.
Most of them seek comfort in connecting with a Hapi Listener like myself.
HAPI: Are any causes or organizations important to you as part of the LGTBQ community?
As an immigrant and first-generation college student, I have personally witnessed harsh opposition from others when it comes to talking about mental wellness. It was not until the COVID pandemic that I noticed discussions around mental health becoming more common and it became more evident just how important our mental health is to our overall well-being. This ultimately catapulted me to further advance my nursing education in the mental health field. I am grateful to be accepted into my top choice Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) program to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practitioner (PMHNP) and eager to contribute to the psychiatric mental health field.*
*Disclaimer: Hapi is a non-clinical platform and does not provide direct mental health, psychiatric, or medical care.
HAPI: How do you think others can celebrate Pride, including those not in the LGBTQ community?
GIA: I believe that offering active listening in any setting can make a world of difference in anyone’s life. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a tremendous difference. I believe that listening to others with an open mind and heart can be transformative.
HAPI: DEI is very important for many companies. How can they better recognize and celebrate Pride?
GIA: That’s an excellent question!
It comes down to asking open-ended questions to those who make up the diverse workforce. This could be done on a one-on-one basis and being open to seeing what would be most helpful to the party. This would be a step in the right direction in terms of navigating what companies can do.
This includes starting from the basics, asking open-ended questions, and hosting offline spaces for workers to share more specifics. That would be helpful.
HAPI: What is the importance of community when it comes to celebrating Pride?
GIA: I believe that community is so fundamental to our overall well-being. Being in a community offers a sense of safety, comfort, and belonging. Just having that space of people that we can turn to and be our authentic selves with is invaluable, especially when celebrating Pride. The beautiful thing is that a community can be formed at any point in our lives, not just the one we are born into. I feel very lucky to have met individuals throughout my life with whom I became friends and remain close over time almost like family. They are my rock who I know I can turn to at any time I face hardships.
HAPI: How does Hapi collaborate with people to feel more accepted into the community?
GIA: I think it comes down to the accessibility of the platform. Connecting with an empathetic listener when needed can be right at your fingertips. While there are countless resources, including hotlines, I believe what makes Hapi unique is the group of dedicated Listeners who passionately share the mission of providing safe and inclusive spaces for any caller needing someone to talk to.
I have heard from my own experience on the Hapi app and listening to Hapi Talkers that this app has been instrumental to their day-to-day life as they feel that they now have the opportunity to speak to a non-family member or friend who could offer the type of help that they’ve been seeking all along.
Looking for an empathetic ear, a place to vent, or meaningful conversation? Download Hapi today and use promo code Listen2Me for your first FREE hour.