“Acceptance Matters” is a series of interviews with locals during WorldPride month in New York City
Mariano is Pacific Islander raised in south Florida now residing in Astoria and working in New York City.
Hailing from Florida, Josh Jarrett (he/him/his) lives and works in New York City as a sex and health educator.
Mariano and Josh were interviewed and photographed by Ames Beckerman.
What are your pride styles?
Josh: My pride style is simply challenging myself to push my own boundaries. To lean into discomfort. To wear that kilt and paint those nails. Mariano: My Pride style is to look back and think that I didn’t say no because I was told to, but because I wanted to say no.
What does Pride at 50 mean to you?
Mariano: At 50 years I am aware of how far we have come, and not just because of what I can do publicly with my partners that would once have unthinkable. However, I feel like we have let many of our most vulnerable fall through the cracks.
Josh: Pride at 50 means that now we have made leaps in representation, it’s time we work within our own community to ensure we are fully embracing our own family, making sure we are a healthy community that supports one another for the other 11 months of the year.
How are you planning to celebrate pride this year?
Mariano: I’m planning to celebrate with my chosen family and my friends at home. I want to avoid a lot of the chaos that NYC often becomes. I appreciate the celebration but there should be more ways to celebrate for those of us who don’t want to get drunk or use up our energy among large noisy crowds.
Josh: I’ll be marching for part of the parade but I’ll also be celebrating being visible and seen. I’ll spend some time reflecting and walking the piers, thinking about the things that have happened here and how they continue to be a site for queer culture.
How are you practicing love and acceptance this season?
Mariano: This Pride season I am focusing on building communication with my loved ones. I want to help queers I care for be able to love themselves as much as I love them. I believe that the best way to achieve this is to live honestly and deliberately even when it’s hard and make space for others to do so too.
Josh: Listening. We all have our own stories to tell, and we all learn from embracing these stories. We see each other through our own stories and how they’ve shaped us. By listening to each other we add to our own understanding and narratives.
Interview and photos by Ames Beckerman