Rafi Daugherty is our Pride Community Liaison here at the JCC Denver.

As a Jewish transgender man and father of two children, we believe Rafi is a priceless resource to our J community. Being at the forefront of the Queer Jewish community, we thought it’d be extremely beneficial to have him answer some common questions about Pride Month–including how he and his family celebrate Pride, and what we can look forward to at the Denver Pride March this Sunday.

What does “Pride” mean to you?

Rafi Daugherty: I remember taking some time feeling challenged by the Pride concept…why am I proud of being trans and queer? Wasn’t I “born this way”? Pride should be about achievements, not things we’re gifted at birth. It took me chewing on these thoughts awhile before I came up with the following: it’s not that I’m proud of having been born queer or trans. It’s pride in the courage it took to really stand in those identities and come out and show the world the most authentic version of myself. It’s pride in staying alive and healthy despite an oppressive background, culture, and current political climate. Despite being rejected by close friends and family. Despite losing access to communities I once called home. I have experienced these painful losses and still can live my life as myself and be happy doing so. I can be proud of my resilience.

How do you and your family celebrate Pride Month?

RD: I tend to steer somewhat away from “Hallmark Holidays” and other commercialized celebrations so I’m not Mr. Pride 2018, but I do enjoy decking my family out in some rainbows and participating in Pride Shabbat and marching with the Jewish community in the parade when I can. I try to bring awareness to the allies in the Jewish community that they can stand and march with us to show their support and be with us in the fight for equality.