What Pride Means to Me
Happy Pride Month from Sports Basement! We're sharing a few stories & photos from our LGBTQ+ staff including this interview with SBO General Manager Eden Slezin. He reflects on what Pride means to him.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride to me is a worldwide event that serves as a reminder to me, and every other LGBTQIA+ (which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (can also stand for Allied, aromantic, Agender,) and + is every non gender confirming individual) that we matter. That we not only matter, but our individually and uniqueness deserve a celebration in every city, around the world. The celebration is all inclusive. Anyone from any community is welcome to participate in a day, weekend, or month where everyone can be loud and proud of who they are. For me and many of my friends, it's like a national holiday and one of our favorite! This is especially true in San Francisco, where the entire city goes ALL out. There is one of the largest parades in the world (I have been on a float twice and it was like no other experience), with people from every aspect of our amazing Bay Area community, and from all over the world. The "block" (it's way more than a block) party around Civic Center is spectacular with famous performers, DJ's, food, drinks and so much more. Parks, bars and clubs around the city have special events, where there is something for everyone to feel special and valid. Typically, Pride is celebrated all weekend long and you just can't help but smile everywhere you go.
Eden celebrating on SB's Pride Parade float in 2011
How does Pride and the outdoor industry come together for you?
I've worked to increase representation of LGBTQIA+ people in the outdoors and often with the support of Sports Basement. I have always felt that Pride was very important to Sports Basement. When we suggested having a Sports Basement float in the parade, funding and hours were immediately approved. Having run the Bryant street store for 10 years, I was also very proud to always have numerous LGBTQIA+ individuals on staff. Then there are also the little things like at the Sports Basement Bryant store there are always rainbow flags up and I actually had nothing to do with that! It's fantastic to see them every time I go there.
I have also run my own backpacking business for 15 years and for quite a while we did Gay and Lesbian backpacking trips in Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, which were very popular. Often I would get comments on how special they were and wonderful it was that program existed.
How do you feel about Pride this year with COVID-19 affecting all in-person events?
It's definitely a little sad, but it will not stop us from celebrating. Pride is a feeling that goes well beyond the physical celebration. This year, me and a few select friends are just taking small opportunities to get together safely and celebrate in whatever way we can. A Zoom call, a small dinner party, picnic or quick getaway from the city. I know for many people their first pride is transformative, and every year it's someone's first pride, so it's unfortunate, some people won't experience it this year, but hopefully next year will be better than ever!
Gaelen Donahue-Cooper says...
You Rock Eden I’m sure you will find many ways to celebrate and shine your Pride.On June 25, 2020