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Pride at The Boston Home

In honor of Pride month, we talked with Kristine Schiebel, a resident of The Boston Home, about the importance of celebrating Pride.

Interview with Kristine Schiebel by Victoria Stevens

June is Pride month. Can you tell me why that’s meaningful for you?

Oh, absolutely. I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and I just feel grateful to be able to live freely as myself. To me, that is what Pride means—to be able to live authentically as myself. It means love for everyone. That we can all love each other the same.

It helps to know that your voice can be powerful. Just by being who you are you can create acceptance. We have Pride month because of people who were strong enough to come forward and say, “I am going to be myself.’’ I am glad that The Boston Home is recognizing Pride month, because The Boston Home is all about love and acceptance. It’s a family, really.

Speaking of family, was your family always supportive of you?

My sister, Kara, has made a huge difference in my life. She was the first person I came out to, and she was very supportive. She has always shown up for me for more than 30 years, even helping me move to The Boston Home. 

When I first told my parents, they were surprised and it took them a little time to accept. A few years later, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and then my relationship with my parents became even stronger. They came to visit me and my partner when I was living in Provincetown and met some of my friends. My parents come from a very conservative background, so I was really proud of them for doing that. They even voted for gay marriage in Maine. They have given me their full support.

Tell me about living in Provincetown:

I had been living in Albany, New York, where I had a corporate job, and I gave it up. I decided to take a chance and move to a place where I could be myself. So, when I was 23, I moved to Provincetown, for love.

In some way, maybe a little psychic, I must have known that I needed to get my life going sooner rather than later. I felt that I could not get my life going until I figured myself out. I am glad that I took the chance, because I have had a great life. I was very involved in the community in Provincetown. I had a wonderful, supportive partner who helped me in my journey with MS for 10 years before she passed in 2014. I used to do the Swim for Life, which raises money for local charities, including Helping Our Women and Outer Cape Health Services. I worked in the tourism and hospitality sector. I also did promotional work and even opened for some comedians in Provincetown, because to me, laughter is part of love and acceptance. I always find the funny. There is a great comedy scene in P-town.

How did it feel moving to The Boston Home after living in Provincetown?

After living in a very gay-friendly community for 20 years, I just didn’t know how accepting people would be, and there have been a couple of disapproving comments at times from some people. That’s why I am grateful that The Boston Home is recognizing Pride and encouraging unity and acceptance and love. People don’t always realize how important that is. Nearly half of all LGBTQ+ teens attempt suicide. That’s why it is so important to spread love.

Now that I am at this stage of life, I have a lot of gratitude for all of the love and support that I have been given through the years, and that I can be myself. Because of that, now I can show others love, too. I am grateful for the roads that have been paved, for my brothers and sisters who did not have an easy world to live in. We have to celebrate difference to dispel the violence in the world, because there is too much violence.

Is there anything else that you would like people to know about your experience?

“To Thine Own Self Be True.” That is one of my favorite quotes. You have to be your authentic self. Just doing that is powerful. Also, you have to take chances because you never know what’s going to happen in life. Make choices that will lead to your happiness.

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