Today’s guest blog is written by Rashad Stallings-Covington, United Way of Greater Atlanta Young Professional Leaders Board Chair and his husband, Hasson Covington-Stallings.

As Pride approaches Greater Atlanta, it is a great time to ask yourself what Pride means to you. LGBTQ pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people as a social group.

Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBTQ+ rights movements. When we think of Pride and United Way we think of Live United, Love United, which is a phrase that we hold dear to our hearts. Living united and loving united is the act of people from different spectrums loving and supporting each other regardless of their sexuality, or gender identity.

Being an ally and advocate for the LGBTQ community, taking a stand and fighting for justice. United Way of Greater Atlanta has always provided a space where we could truly be ourselves. Living out loud and living proud.

When we think of “Live United, Love United” we think of being able to live freely, without fear and worry of being criticized or judged for our love. October isn’t only a time when Atlanta celebrates PRIDE, but also a time when we celebrate seven years of being together and one year of marriage.

We have been blessed to have amazing friends and allies that have supported us in our journey of living authentically. Though this has not been an easy task, we have enjoyed every step of the way. We have learned to live every day with integrity, to be bold and unapologetic. We will continue to be a voice for the voiceless, stand for love and be a positive example for the LGBTQ+ youth that have feelings of fear and rejection.

We’ve seen progression over the past seven years, but there is still more work to be done and with United Way’s campaign, “Live United, Love United” we move one step closer.

Thank you to United Way for letting us have a voice and, most importantly, thank you for supporting us as we celebrate our love for each other.