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“Hue the Pride Turtle” Is a Gentle Reminder to Celebrate Those Who Aren’t Ready to Come Out Yet

You're still part of Pride even if you're not out yet

Hue the Pride Turtle

One of the reasons why I look forward to Pride Month is because I know that artists are going to take to social media and gift us with lots and lots of queer art. This Pride Month is no exception, and it’s very easy to spend the day scrolling through my feed, liking as much art as I can, and, much to my wallet’s dismay, seeing who’s got a shop I can buy from. The art I’ve come across is an absolute celebration of every single aspect of the community, but this particular piece I’m sharing with you all really struck a chord with me.

Digital artist Syd Moncrief illustrated an image of a rainbow-colored turtle still inside of a gray shell. Posted back in 2019, the Pride Turtle (named Hue) made the Twitter rounds again this year (and last year, too), the shy little animal quietly looking out at us with the following message:

It’s OK if you’re not ready yet.

Moncrief would go on to make queer variants of Hue.

When we talk about queer celebration, the focus is usually on those of us who are already out followed by lots of encouragement for others to come out and join the community. The truth is, not everyone is ready to come out yet, furthermore, not everyone is in a position where they can come out safely, so while it’s important to inspire people to come out, it’s also important to reassure the ones who aren’t ready (or can’t) that they matter, too.

Coming out is a major step that’s an ongoing process. After coming out to myself and my girl crush, I came out to my online community, my college roommates, my classmates, my mother, my friends back at home, my father, my girlfriend’s family, my extended family … the list goes on and is still going on today with differing responses depending on the person.

From a personal standpoint, when I first came out it was only to a handful of people. Outside of my small, trusted circle, everyone thought I was a heterosexual girl with an ex-boyfriend I was trying to get over. Truthfully, I had gotten over him and had started a new relationship, but outside of my circle, that girl I was messaging every night was just a friend. It took years for that circle to disappear into a full-fledged declaration of “I’m bi, deal with it,” and there were even times when I had to go back into the closet because I didn’t trust the space I was about to enter (or, in Moncrief’s case, I had to go back inside my shell).

It can feel like a bit of a downer that you aren’t out here celebrating with everyone else, or it can feel like you don’t get to call yourself queer because you haven’t announced it yet. Moncrief’s art is a warm reminder that you are very much a part of this community even if you aren’t out yet. Those of us who are out are very much celebrating you, too, we’ll just celebrate AGAIN when you are ready to take that step.

You are a part of Pride, too, even if you’re a gentle turtle in a shell.

You can check out more of Moncrief’s art over on her Twitter. You can also check her out over on Instagram.

(Image: Syd Moncrief)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)