Joy is Pride: A Conversation with Jamila Reddy

Interview by Brianne Patrice.

Becoming is the most self-less act any of us can perform.

The hardest part about being our true selves is letting go of who we imagined ourselves to be. Of who our parents want us to be and of who the world tells us that we should be. Joy is freedom and it is courage. It is truth and it is honesty. It’s an allowance that we must first, gift to ourselves by saying, “this is who I am”, “this is who I am meant to be”, “this is who I am expanding into”.

As we close June, we speak to Jamila Reddy, one of our favorite folk helping the LGTBQ+ community far and wide. Jamila is a gem to the community. Her vulnerability and her honestly is something we can all learn from.

Thus, here at Black Girl In Om, we stand with Jamila providing community to those who are us…

…joy is pride.

Continue reading below to hear how Jamila has and still is reclaiming her own radical joy by being her most honest self.

How has your joy shifted since falling into yourself and your identity? What did it take to get there?

It’s a hard question to answer because I don’t know that I’ve “fallen” into my identity fully yet. I feel like I’m still becoming myself. Certainly I’ve gotten deeper in my understanding and expression of myself, and I’m still exploring and expanding. I’m still growing into my fullness. In this process, my joy has become so much more visceral and substantial. I think that it took a lot of curiosity and courage — and seeing examples of other black queer people living in their truth. It took me seeing evidence of possibility; I could be Black and queer and gender-nonconforming and polyamorous. I know that I don’t have to shrink or compromise my truths and my wants because I’ve seen so many people living beautiful, joyful lives doing that. In fact, I think that’s a prerequisite.

How do you practice pride and joy? 

I practice pride and joy by showing up as visibly queer in the world, and sharing examples of my moments of joy with others, whenever I can. I share my story; I speak my truth. I practice joy by giving myself permission to be guided by desires, and to claim them unapologetically.

Whats one self-care practice that's helped you as you fell in love with your full self?

Dancing alone at home! I love moving my body without wondering or worrying about how I look or the space I’m taking up.

What advice would you give others struggling to accept their sexuality?

You can’t live your fullest life if you aren’t existing as your fullest self. You courage and willingness to do THE WORK of learning to accept and love yourself will be open your life up to so many possibilities. It’s hard. And it’s worth it. 

Jamila Reddy (pronouns: she/they) is a writer, coach, and lifestyle designer on a mission to help people create their dream lives. You may find Jamila here and here.