For decades, our LGBTQIA+ wearers have been lacing up their Dr. Martens and marching in them. Shaping them into a symbol of rebellion. Resilience. And self-expression. This year, Dr. Martens is committed to showcasing why Pride is as important as ever, and we’re turning to members of our community to help us tell the story.
DM’s: Hi, thanks for speaking with us! Could you give us an introduction?
ELISEO: I am Elíseo Equihua I was born and raised in East L.A. I’m a First Generation Gay LatinX Chicano Artist, Model, Actor, and DJ.
My personal pronouns are He, Him, His.
Why is Pride still important in 2021?
It is imperative to remember the history of Pride. The ones who came before us and said, “Enough is enough!” and revolted. Because of them I, a First Generation Gay Latinx Chicano can write about my own experience. We don’t live in the shadows anymore. Although there is work still work to be done, we are blessed to live lifetimes ahead of those during the inception of Pride in the late 60’s. It’s important to always celebrate Pride with a full sense of awareness, joy, and gratitude.
Which causes/charities are important to you?
I come from immigrant parents who started their own nonprofit to end starvation in my dad’s small pueblo San Juan De Abajo, Nayarit, Mexico. Giving back is deeply interwoven into my identity.
The charities and causes close to my heart in my community are the It Gets Better Project who highlight stories targeted toward LGBTQIA+ youth to prove it gets better.
The Trans Latina Coalition offers resources to trans Latinas in detention centers throughout the United States.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center offers an abundance of services that aid the community like mental health services, housing for homeless youths, and job training.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is unapologetically seek help if you need it. You never know where it can take you.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride to me is a moment for me to reflect, to rejoice, and to be grateful. Reflect and rejoice on the young, gay man I had the courage to finally accept and become. I came out later in life. I sat my parents down in the living room and told them. Since then, every trip around the sun has been filled with color.
I wasn’t accepted by my peers in school, and I reflect a lot on that time because I am amazed at how different things are now. I know I am very blessed to have this experience and I am always grateful.
Even though we are in 2021 we still have people in our community who are marginalized, ostracized, and targeted by their own government.
Pride has an impact on my everyday life. Whenever I take a walk around this city that I love, I will see the Pride Flag and think how lucky I am to live in a time when it’s accepted to display the flag front and center.
What challenges are facing Pride in 2021?
I think people in the LGBTQIA+ community experiences mental health issues more often than the average person. Depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and thoughts of suicide are not uncommon in the community.
For anyone reading this and dealing with any of these issues, please know that you are not alone. There are many free resources out there for you. There is no shame whatsoever in healing yourself.
What’s the next step for LGBTQIA+ rights?
Trans women need to be protected and highlighted more. Some of my most valuable conversations are with my trans friends. They are the true spirit of what it means to live authentically and unapologetically.