Each June, LGBTQIA+ communities around the world join to celebrate, commemorate, and reflect upon the fight for freedom. This Pride month, we're honoring and uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices through "Pride Out Loud," which offers recommendations for customers to find and connect with LGBTQIA+ creators across Amazon.
To help with the visual expression of Pride Out Loud, we partnered with Carmela Caldart (she/her), a Brazilian illustrator and animator currently based in Barcelona. We sat down with Caldart to learn more about her work and what Pride means to her. Keep reading to hear about her work, her inspiration, and her advice for fellow creators.
The world needs more of our stories, our art, our voices, and our experiences. You are important, you matter, and the message that you want to send out into the world matters.
What does LGBTQIA+ culture mean to you?
To me, LGBTQIA+ culture is about freedom—the freedom to be who you are and to live your life authentically and fully. LGBTQIA+ culture is about acceptance, understanding, togetherness, support, compassion, curiosity, and strength. It's about uplifting and empowering the people in our community and creating a safer and more accepting world for younger generations. It's also a culture of joy and resistance, of celebration and protest, of liberation and defiance. Our community has always had to fight for rights, for visibility, and for change, so LGBTQIA+ culture is also a culture of perseverance and love.
What does Pride Out Loud mean to you?
I think each person has their own way of expressing Pride Out Loud, and every way is valid and beautiful. For me, personally, it's about being honest with myself and with others. It's an inner celebration of calm, comfort, and confidence in who I am. Most of all, Pride Out Loud is about joy. It's about celebrating who we are, about celebrating our community and our history without forgetting the work of generations before us that have allowed us to celebrate so openly today. It's about doing our own work so that future generations can celebrate even more freely and fully.
What is one area where you are particularly excited to see the LGBTQIA+ community driving culture and progress?
I'm excited by the increase in LGBTQIA+ representation in media, from TV to books to music. I think it's really important for people to be able to see versions of themselves in the mainstream media, and it's exciting and inspiring to see more and more LGBTQIA+ characters and creators out there. I'm also really excited about younger generations, and younger LGBTQIA+ people, who are growing up with more visibility and more freedom and access to information than the generations before. They inspire me in their confidence and in their involvement and commitment to a more equal and just world.
What advice would you give to other aspiring LGBTQIA+ creators and individuals?
I think it's important to know that there's room for everyone, so my advice would be to keep going and to keep working toward your dreams. The world needs more of our stories, our art, our voices, and our experiences. You are important, you matter, and the message that you want to send out into the world matters. I think sometimes it's easy for us to feel like we aren't "enough," and I would just want everyone, especially LGBTQIA+ people, to know that they are enough, no matter what part of their process they're in. You are valid, you are enough, and the world needs your story.
What would you tell someone who's struggling to be their authentic self?
I think discovering your authentic self is a process, and it's okay to respect and to accept your own process. It's okay to not know who you are and to take the time and space to figure that out as you go along. It's okay to not know everything about yourself and to struggle. But whenever you are ready, and whoever and however you discover yourself to be, that is valid. I think we also live in this culture that pressures us to know everything about ourselves all the time, and that can be heavy when we're young and trying to figure out where we fit. I would tell them "it's okay"—whatever part of your process you are at, it's okay.