Inside OPI: Celebrating Pride

Inside OPI: Celebrating Pride Month
  • Inside OPI: Celebrating Pride Month
    Happy Pride Month! June marks an important time to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ community, including those inside OPI. This month meet Tim, our Sr. Manager of Platform Experience, and Kaitlin, our Social Media Intern at HQ, as they share what Pride means to them, how they will be celebrating in lockdown, and how color has impacted their lives.
    1. Tim Hogan

      What does Pride mean to you? How has it empowered you?

      Tim: Pride is living and expressing myself unapologetically. Pride is a concept that frees us from what society has told us we had to suppress or hold back for so long. The colors, the celebrations, the joy, they are all things that many of us were told we were to be ashamed of for simply being ourselves. My first pride parade was terrifying, exhilarating, and freeing. I got to see so many people just like me celebrating freely and unafraid. It really showed me that I didn't need to let the world hold me back and I could live my life exactly how I wanted to, no matter how loud or different it may seem to most. The world is slowly healing but we are still a ways away from being out of this pandemic and I am just celebrating pride as much as I can. Being a figure in the drag community, I am slowly getting back into hosting my drag brunches and performing again. West Hollywood and LA is starting to regain it's spark and it is a very beautiful thing. LA Pride is set to take place (IN PERSON) in June and I am really cautiously excited to take part in the festivities.

      What advice do you have to people in the community that might not have a strong support system at home?

      Tim: My advice to people that might not have a strong support system at home - know that it is going to get better. Know that you are going to find your chosen family and they are going to accept every single part of you. Do not give up on yourself, do not ever apologize for who you are, and in the words of Lady Gaga, "Don't be a drag, just be a queen".Be open to learning about a person's experiences, beliefs, and morals. We all come from different experiences and see the world differently but what makes this world beautiful is that at the end of the day, we breathe the same air, are made of the same things, and live on the same planet. Life is so much more beautiful when it is full of love and acceptance.

    2. Tim Hogan OPI Nail Art

      OPI: At OPI, we believe that color is the answer. The LGBTQ+ community is a very creative and vibrant one - how has color played an impact in your life?

      Tim: Being a drag queen, I love color and sparkly things. Life would be so dull if it didn't exist in technicolor. From a young kid, I was always drawn to beautiful things and colors had a big part to play in it. It sparks emotion and feelings that some other senses do not trigger for me. Speaking of color, my favorite OPI shade is Samoan Sand. It is the perfect nude, not too pink, not too orange. It looks good with everything.

      OPI: What do you think people can do to help raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ+ community?

      Tim: We need to talk about the issues at hand and protect the community especially the Trans community. Currently the Trans community has been a specific target from both our own government as well as heinous attacks of hate. We need to protect our trans youth and allow them to be the person they want to be. We need to provide health and mental services to support medical transitions for ALL. And we as a society need to do better in protecting Trans Women, especially Trans Women of Color. So far in 2021, more than 20 transgender people have been killed and these are only the ones that have been reported. The media needs to do a better job of representing the LGBTQ+ community as the targets on the community come from the way the community gets portrayed. It boxes the community into one category and seen as one way and has ultimately hurt the community.

      OPI: How can we continue to support Pride all year round?

      Tim: Reach out to your friends and family in the LGBTQIA+ community and ask them how they are doing. Contact your local LGBTQ+ Center and ask how you can get involved. Educate yourself on LGBTQIA+ issues especially those around Trans protections. Contact your local school boards to urge them to include LGBTQIA+ history into curriculums as to better educate our youth and to help mold a more accepting generation. Go to a gay bar, a drag show, any LGBTQ+ owned business and support them.

    3. Kaitlin OPI Manicure

      OPI: What does Pride mean to you? How has it empowered you?

      Kaitlin: Pride has a different meaning to everyone but for me personally it's a time to celebrate everyone within the community and honor those who fought for the rights we have today and for those who continue to fight. The word pride itself is the opposite of shame, which so many people in the community felt for so long. I've actually never attended Pride for myself, because I came out last year when Pride was canceled due to COVID but I've been to other Pride events for my brother who came out when I was in high school. I'm incredibly excited to see how Pride feels now that I'm out and ready to share that part of myself with the world.

      OPI: How are you celebrating pride with the lockdown still in effect? What advice do you have to people in the community that might not have a strong support system at home?

      Kaitlin: I came out last year just before the pandemic so I've actually really only celebrated pride in lockdown which has been such an interesting experience. This year with things opening up I hope to have a more traditional experience but know that it will definitely still be different with COVID regulations in place. I know LA Pride will be in person this year which I will be excited to attend as long as covid regulations allow and I will also be attending a virtual Pride 5k with proceeds going towards The Trevor Project. I was incredibly lucky to have a strong support system at home but have many friends who have not been as fortunate. What I've seen work for them is to really utilize tools such as community groups to meet with others going through a similar experience or to attend therapy. What I think most people who come out find is that even if their support system at home isn't there, the community truly feels very much like a family and you can find that support system there. When I first came out I had never seen another gay girl that looked like me and once I found my niche in the community I finally felt like I belonged.

      OPI: What is something you'd like to share with people to learn about acceptance and inclusion?

      Kaitlin: Be kind and caring and understand that we're all different and that it's a good thing. We all have different walks of life that make us who we are and we all need to learn to be more accepting of each other. It's always easier said than done but I think what we've seen more than ever in the past year is it's time for people to start using their voice to include others, especially those in marginalized groups who may not have a voice of their own.

      OPI: At OPI, we believe that color is the answer. The LGBTQ+ community is a very creative and vibrant one - how has color played an impact in your life?

      Kaitlin: I think color has played a key role in me coming out. Prior to me being out I didn't wear much color or even surround myself with much. As much as I would have hated to admit this back then, I think a lot of it was because I was so insecure in who I was. I never felt comfortable in my own body or standing out. Now I like to experiment with different colors in what I wear and how I paint my nails especially. I have found so much joy through self expression in color because I feel like it finally represents who I am not only on the inside but on the outside now as well. For a very long time Mod About You was my favorite shade but I honestly think the new Malibu collection may have stolen my heart. Strawberry Waves Forever has been one I reach for almost every time I do my nails. I think the thing I love the most about both shades is that they're both pink. Growing up I think I had this connotation that pink was so "girly" and that wasn't something you wanted to be, at least not if you wanted to be respected and treated as an equal. Since coming out I've made a lot of efforts to rewrite harmful narratives either I told myself or others did growing up. Pink isn't girly, it's strong and powerful and beautiful and ANYONE can wear it. I wear it because it makes me happy and I do it for myself, not anyone else.

       

    4. Kaitlin OPI Manicure

      OPI: What do you think people can do to help raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ+ community?

      Kaitlin: I think the biggest thing we can do to support the community is educate ourselves and listen to those within the community voicing their concerns. So often LGBTQIA+ issues are swept under the rug and never addressed by the media so unless you're actively searching for that information you remain uninformed. Take the time to look into harmful legislation against the LGBTQIA+ community, especially those in the Trans community who are minors. This year alone more people than ever have come out as identifying as a sexuality other than straight and much of that has been attributed to Gen Z, many of which are still under the age of 18. Anti-trasngender legislation has faced a record breaking year and much of the progress we've made has been erased and the only way to make changes is to vote. The community has tried to support each other and bring awareness to the issues but we can't do it alone. It's critical to not just be an ally to the community but an actionable and accountable one.

      OPI: How can we continue to support Pride all-year round?

      Kaitlin: There are so many opportunities to support the LGBTQIA+ community year round but unfortunately many people don't know what to do or where to start. I think the biggest thing we can do is educate ourselves so we know why Pride is so important and what we can do to support those within the community. While I love pride month, I love LGBTQIA+ history month in October more because it gives a platform to share the amazing work people in the community have done and really celebrate them in a way that they don't often get. Queer erasure is very real and has ultimately removed many queer people from important historical events. The best thing we can do to support pride is changing this narrative.

    5. Celebrate your individuality or show your support for the LGBTQ community through the expression of OPI nail polish color.

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