In celebration of Pride Month, we invite our readers to share their stories and perspectives. We are always open to sharing diverse perspectives here on EN, and you can share yours by emailing tips@eventingnation.com. This story come to us from Mary Campbell, the Boss Mare in Charge at Mare Modern Goods. You can check out the Mare Modern Goods Pride collection here.

Pride Month is here! And I’d like to give you my reason for recognizing this important event. I came out about 25 years ago and it was a very different time. Ellen was not a fixture on our televisions, AIDS was still something that was very much feared by the gay community and marriage equality was not even on the horizon. To keep a very long story short, it was not an easy time to navigate the waters of being gay. I’m so glad that things have changed over the past 25 years and that resources for people who are LGBTQIA are so much easier to access and, more importantly, that the stigma around being gay has lessened.

But I’ll be honest, I still feel nervous writing this and sharing it with you guys. I worry that you’ll judge me, not support my business, or think less of me. It still feels risky and, while no one is forcing me to share this with you—my friends and customers—it feels important for me because it’s the brave thing to do. And, if there is one thing I have learned though my time with horses, sometimes you have to show up, trust yourself and do the brave thing.

And why is this story important? Because we all need to be seen and we all need role models and people who inspire us to be our truest selves. Even at 45, I need reminders that it’s okay to be myself and that the world needs people like me here. That’s why diversity matters and it’s not just a box to check but a guiding principle for my business. If you can’t see yourself in the life you want to live, how do you ever fully blossom into who you are meant to be?

My wish is that everyone can see themselves in the world of horses. No matter your background, your gender, your race, your body type, your sexual orientation, you belong here. Horses don’t judge us, they accept us for all of the reasons that should inspire us to accept each other: are we kind, are we generous with our assumptions, are we clear about our boundaries, are our pockets full of cookies? Personally, I’ve found if you have cookies, most people are nice to you. Tell me I’m wrong.

So, this month (and always!), no matter who you are and who you love, we celebrate you. Being your truest self takes courage and that’s badass.

As always, thank you for taking time to read this and if you are struggling with your own identity issues, know that you are not alone and things will get better. If you need support, please don’t be afraid to ask for help and if you need mental health resources, I’ll include a list of links below.

Helpful LGBTQIA Resources:

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) young people.

PFLAG

PFLAG was the first organization devoted to helping parents, families, and allies support LGBTQ+ people. Today, the organization supports a network of more than 400 local chapters found throughout the United States. Through their site, you can locate or even start a local chapter of the support organization.

LGBT National Help Center

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) National Help Center, founded in 1996, is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Trans Lifeline

Trans Lifeline is a service devoted to offering care and support to transgender people. It provides peer support from a place of experience since the organization is staffed by trans individuals.