Man laughing at barbershop
Xavier D'LeauImage by: Keiron Berndt
Man laughing at barbershop
1 June 2022

Xavier’s Story: Find Your Way Through Purpose This Pride

Xavier D'Leau
4 minutes read time

Summer usually tends to be the season of freedom and openness – but it’s really not. For Queer people, it can feel more like a season of loneliness. Partially because of the fact that a lot of the time society makes Queer people think they need to look and act a certain way. We see a lot of images portrayed in the media: rainbow flags, fit, buff, white men, but there’s never a full gamut of representation of what Queer is.

It's a lot of pressure to be this narrow representation of gay, and if that’s not who you are, it can be hard to combat that. I can remember being younger, going to Pride parties, and thinking “Pride is the season to meet somebody”. Everybody’s out, it feels like the summer of love! But it never worked that way. I wasn’t spending all the hours in the gym, or keeping up with x, y, z TV show that defined desirability.

With time, I learned I had to get over that. To go where you’re celebrated. Just be true to who you are, because otherwise you’re going to waste your precious time and accrue a lot of anxiety trying to fit into a space that you may end up realizing you don’t even really like. When I moved to New York, there were a lot more people that looked like me, a lot more people that acted like me, and were more accepting. It gave me license to loosen up a bit and realize there’s more than one way that gay looks.

" For me, Pride means purpose. "

A lot of Queer people are put in a predicament where we’re not able to fulfill our purpose, because we’re so consumed with surviving with a society that’s trying to tear us down. It robs us of that privilege of purpose. And so Pride represents a time and space where – whether it be fleeting or not – we have a time to honor and celebrate our own purpose.

Before I was a content creator, I was a social worker in New York for 10 years. So, a lot of what we would teach was self-care; how to de-stress, how to manage certain emotions. But, like most professionals, I never took my own advice. The way being Queer kind of lends itself to being in these spaces, these parties; alcohol in abundance, everybody’s working hard, the stresses of just being alive. It was a challenge to learn what self-care really looked like. I used to use social media as my escape. But now it’s my full-time job, so I had to figure out a new escape. I started doing yoga, not just because it’s good for your body, but it’s really all about the breathing. I really needed that. I used to quell up my anxieties. Now I’ve learned to breathe through it, consciously and subconsciously mitigating my own anxieties. Allowing my body to calm, so my mind can follow.

But time is the ultimate self-care. You know, Queer people, we don’t operate January to December. We start in June. Pride month marks the beginning, and it’s a time where people have thoughts like, “I want to be a better person,” or “This summer I’m just doing me.” It’s like New Year’s resolutions, but in June. It’s not just resolutions, it’s a time to hold things accountable. What do you want to do differently?

I feel like there’s a lack of foundation for those who are searching for this type of belonging, so my resolution this season would be transitioning into this idea of community building. Making the place that I live better. For Rooted and Rising, I showcased a mini-series that focused on Black, gay, men who were on the cusp of turning thirty. Everything they said tied back to the same thing: Everybody has a fear of being lonely. Everybody has a fear of dying alone, or not fitting into this space, this sense of what Queer should look like.

For the showcase, it all boiled down to everyone being grateful for the partners and people they’ve found. Having at least one person that’s always in their corner. We’ve got to stop closing ourselves off, and start tearing down those ideas to build a strong sense of community. Focus on meeting friends in Pride. Like-minded people, no matter what their orientation is. Because finding a solid friend, who completely supports you? It’s the love of a friend that will help you overcome all the trivial stuff you’ll find at Pride and beyond.

Follow Xavier on Instagram and listen to his podcast here.