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An American flag flies over the Pride Flag against a clear blue sky.

More than 50 members of the Bentley community gathered on campus June 1, 2022 for the university’s fifth annual Pride Flag ceremony, which was also livestreamed for participants unable to attend in person. As the official kick-off for the university’s observance of Pride Month, the event “showcases and celebrates the vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning community across Boston, the United States and the world,” says Matt Banks, assistant director in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion

This year’s ceremony featured poignant and personal remarks from Dr. Mateo Cruz, assistant professor of Management, an abridged version of which follows: 

Good morning, and happy Pride! It is an honor to speak with you today as we raise the rainbow flag — to honor our history, reflect on the present and manifest our future. 

My name is Dr. Mateo Cruz, and I am an assistant professor of Management. I study how unconscious, invisible and hidden dynamics influence behavior in groups and organizations. It is from that perspective I share my reflections about some of the less visible aspects of Pride. 

I call these “The 3 Ps of Pride” … 

Number 1. Pride is a Process 

There are generations of past and current queer and trans children who must hide themselves in plain sight; still the joy of their first crushes; and dim their creative light for fear of expulsion, excommunication or extinction.  

When asked what Pride means to them, a friend said: “Comfort in my own skin and the intersection of queerness and self-love.” Another added: “Radical self-love.” And a third said: “It’s a celebration with joy for something that for many of us used to be our deepest shame.” 

Pride is a Process because it requires we overcome shame to celebrate self.  

NProfessor Mateo Cruz speaks to the crowd during Bentley's 5th annual Pride Flag ceremonyumber 2. Pride is a Privilege  

Those of us who celebrate do so openly because we have the privilege to, and we march for those who cannot — the undocumented, the incarcerated, those from countries where queerness remains illegal, the teachers and youth in Florida, Alabama, Ohio, Louisiana and 10 other states silenced under “Don’t Say Gay” bills, and our trans family currently facing 240 pieces of legislation that will determine if they can receive gender affirming care, use the public bathroom, play school sports or be recognized by their names and pronouns in the college classroom.  

Pride is a Privilege because we can stand up and fight back, something we must do louder than ever this year as more states move to ban bodies, borders and books.  

Number 3. Pride is Power 

Pride is Power because it sets us free. 

As LGBTQ+ people, you join a legacy of spiritual warriors who since the dawn of time chose to live their truth and brave the consequences, even if it meant losing everything they loved, and even when it did.  

I call you spiritual warriors because I am of the strong belief that queerness and gender expansiveness are not biological traits, certainly not learned behaviors, but spiritual gifts bestowed on a small percentage of the population to remind us: to love without fear, to live outside the boundaries and to lead from a place of deep conviction, compassion and courage. 

In sum: 

Pride is a Process that connects us back to ourselves. 

Pride is a Privilege that bridges us across intersectional differences. 

And Pride is Power because it transforms our deepest fears into our greatest gifts. 

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