Yesterday, at age 11, C.J. officially became the youngest grand marshal in Pride Month’s 48-year history. As part of his duties as Orange County Pride’s 2018 Grand Marshal, he accepted a community award and gave a speech. He wrote the speech entirely by himself and memorized it dutifully.
Pride doesn’t even come close to explaining what I feel when I watch the following video and read his words (also below).
C.J.’s OC Pride Grand Marshal Speech
Thank you so much for this award and for letting me be your Grand Marshal.
I definitely had a lot of ups and downs this year. The things that got me through this year are being myself, being proud of who I am, having a supportive community and having a loving family that is always there for me.
Without my family supporting me and helping me, I would still be getting bullied and I would not be on this stage.
My family has helped me so much this year and it makes me so sad that some LGBTQ people don’t have supportive families and they have to hide who they are — because if they show who they really are, they might end up with no one who loves them.
We have to stand up for those people and make sure they are safe, loved and respected no matter what.
We need to be proud of who we are and use our pride to make a difference. If we don’t use our pride and act out in pride then things don’t change, people are unhappy and people can’t be themselves. We need to always be ourselves and keep going until we are treated equally.
We need to show everyone that we are fun, strong, colorful, brave, smart, loving and, best of all, proud.
We are the rainbow in the dark sky. Let’s try to erase the dark and turn it into a rainbow.
For more picture and videos from C.J.’s big day, click here: https://www.instagram.com/raisingmyrainbow/