People always ask me “when did you know you were gay?” And as a gay guy, I have to think about my answer because I spent a long time in the closet. While I can now openly admit I was messaging guys online and even looking at Free Gay Cams (dating was out of the picture, after all!) – at the time I wasn’t ready to accept myself and didn’t want anything to do with the gay community. But I remember being in my early twenties and coming out of the closet. A bit of a late bloomer in life, I decided to finally immerse myself in the gay culture Ottawa had to offer me as a young man. I met some of the most amazing people, started dating, and very much had formative experiences that helped me to become the man I am today.
Many years later, I would (as many of us do) shy away from Pride because I didn’t feel as though it and the celebrations therein represented who I was anymore. This year I have come back around and have realized that Pride is something to be proud of in more ways than I realized.
From attending Inside Out, to supporting brands that support the LGBTQ+ community all year round, I am finding that I see more and more of myself in Pride. It’s not always about these epic parties or outfits. It’s about making sure we celebrate how far we’ve come as a community, and how far the world should know that we need to go.
Under Armour, a brand that supports the LGBTQ+ community both during pride and all year round, recently announced the release a Special Edition HOVR SLK Colorway for the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Not only that, but they are also proudly supporting the work of Athlete Ally to create curriculum designed to foster inclusive and enriching environments for athletes, no matter who they love. The #UnitedWeWin collection is one that I love so much I wanted to share more details with you all to help you show your pride and support!
So let’s talk about Pride and why I am so moved this year. I think it’s because there are some powerful moments that I am going to share with you all this month in support of some pretty spectacular people I love. I have actually been looking into volunteering in the community and have become an official mentor for a LGBTQ+ youth group in the city. The glitz of the parade is just one fun part of Pride Month. Uniting for the greater good of the present and future community is what I love most about this month and the events it will hold.
The #UnitedWeWin collection is just one way I can support a brand that supports me. In purchasing the items and helping the work of Athlete Ally, I am making a difference. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but we sometimes should really think about the brands we support because they may in fact not reflect the values that we do. Not to mention the fact that my new shoes are FABULOUS!
“We were inspired by the Stonewall Uprising and wanted to keep the authenticity of the chaotic nature of the events, but also create something beautiful to match with the outcome. The mayhem of that event inspired the unique interpretation of the rainbow you see in this year’s UA HOVR SLK Pride colorway. It’s important to us to meld the reality of the events and tell the story behind it.”
– Yurri Mial, Design Manager, Sportstyle
I think what I love most about the shoes is that it is something we all need, we all use, and we all can understand. Stonewall defined the LGBTQ+ community fifty years ago. What we do today in face of some pretty heavy political issues that are arising around the world will define that same community fifty years from now. One step at a time, we can make the world a more united and inclusive place.
Although Canadians will only see the shoes made available, you can of course shop the whole collection on the Under Armour website here.
To join in on this, and so many important #Pride conversations being made by brands that support and encourage inclusivity, make sure to follow @UnderArmourCA on Instagram, @UnderArmour on Twitter and by ‘Liking’ their Facebook Page. Snap and share your #Pride & #PrideMonth photos wearing your shoes and items from the collection by using the #UnitedWeWin hashtag. Let’s make the world a whole lot more fabulous this month and all year long!
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We would love to have you join on our adventures!
Photos: Under Armour, Daniel Reyes & all Social Media accounts listed
Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year
*Please note that this is a sponsored post – our disclosure can be found at all times by clicking here.