LGBTQ+ Pride is…
An echo, a nod, and an openness to embrace all.
A unique path to happiness, self-worth, love, confidence, and trust.
Worthiness, happiness, and encapsulation in dignity to be precisely who you are.
A celebration and a spirit of acceptance of personal history.
A glimpse into a deep commitment to the future of something more.
The acknowledgment that, as a community, we are no longer silent, hidden, or alone.
- Charlee Frazier-Flores
During the month of June, all around the world, people join to celebrate the LGBTQ community.
The events include inclusive celebrations, parades full of people, open and affirming companies, and vendors. You may have heard the question “why?” Why is there a need for LGBTQ Pride Month? After all this time, all the changes, struggles, and incidents of violence the community has faced, why do we continue to celebrate? By publicly celebrating, it may be for all those who came before us; it may be to show the world we are many and not few; it may be to show those support to those who remain in hiding to avoid discrimination, imprisonment, or death. The why is different for everyone. Even for those who do not join actual festivities, supporters will likely become more visible or verbal during June. I have learned through the years that the month of June allows the community to express themselves individually and collectively. Visibility is vital for those who face discrimination. Our life experience is felt differently, even within the LGBTQ community. All the fun and festivities can help bring encouragement and a feeling of normalcy to a group of marginalized humans. It is a place where family, friends, and supporters may come to bear witness to the lives of unique individuals. It is a call for unity and support for an inclusive community. Being a part of the celebrations may bring a feeling of acceptance. Participation in the Pride celebration allows freedom of self-expression, a place to unmask, and a place to be counted as one of many. The freedom and connection can be exhilarating.
The discovery process for every person who finds themselves set apart from the generally accepted normative global community is unique.
Pride celebrations are not just for those who identify as “other.” It is not merely for those who fall into the LGBTQ community. It is a place all are welcome! We are each born into different cultural, financial, and educational circumstances. Those within the LGBTQ community may hold some similarities to others within their inner circle. However, if given a chance to share their personal experience, the depth of struggles likely differs based on privilege and the lack of privilege. It is essential to recognize that one’s ability, acceptance, and success are often hampered by social bias. Our stories vary based on factors both within and without our control. The mental, emotional, and physical health effects a person encounters during their life experience are vastly related to the acceptance, treatment, and support we receive from others. For example, a Black, indigenous, or person of color will face a different experience than a white male. Suppose a BIPOC person also identifies as non-gender conforming or trans, with a non-traditional sexual orientation, and is neurodivergent. In that case, they will feel an accumulation of multiple discriminations from a society that does not accept them at many levels. Pride Month is valuable as it provides an opportunity to celebrate our differences. Pride Month can bring awareness to the importance of sharing space, allowing each person to be heard, moving towards global acceptance, and creating a space for action that ultimately creates change.
Generally, what we consider acceptable is often based on our life experiences, morals, beliefs, and fears.
The LGBTQ community is continually evolving, sharing, and breaking through conceptions about the human experience. The walls surrounding our hearts and minds can grow and develop to be more inclusive. It is essential to consider our individual biases based on life experiences. A bias is a blind spot we are unaware of due to the freedoms our unique life has given us. This month consider how your connection to the world may differ from someone else’s. How might their lives differ from yours? In essence, no matter how one personally identifies, one may move toward understanding, acceptance, and harmony. Understanding another’s choices and experiences is not necessarily needed to acknowledge their journey. By stepping outside our norm, we can help others do the same. The human pursuit of happiness looks different for everyone. Opening our hearts and minds can expand our ability to accept others.
Labeling others as outsiders happens in any circumstance involving apparent oppositional forces of influence.
Have you witnessed the dismissal of an individual based on their gender presentation, sexual orientation, and self-identification? I have seen eye rolls, comments, and different forms of harassment. In media, we can find those for and against self-expression. It is easy to group individuals apart from our own understanding or level of acceptance. One may at one time or another label a person or a group of people as “other” than oneself. It can make one feel superior to those we label apart from what is deemed acceptable. Some labeling may be an act of self-preservation, a knee-jerk response to fear, or a lack of understanding. Historically, we have seen constructs of this power when setting others apart. It has been written into law, reported in journals of medicine, felt within communities, and found in places of employment. In your circle of influence, find ways to support inclusivity, not just conceptually, but find ways to broaden the awareness of others constructively. Speak, think, and live a life of curiosity and encourage others to do the same.
It is important to remember that what we do as individuals can make a difference.
Be brave enough to examine the labels and definitions within your mind and start asking the questions no one else is asking. The little things we share and express can change another’s viewpoint. Even if our action causes thought to form in another, it may eventually create waves of change within a family, community, or workplace. Be open to learning new identifications, presentations, and experiences. The definition of who we are and what we understand about the world around us can change. Be brave enough to expand your awareness. Be bold enough to speak up and create change. Be kind and stop alienating others through classifications. Allow people to define their own lives. Start seeing others as a part of the overall human experience!
One Colorado – one-colorado.org
Sherlock’s Homes Foundation | Help LGBTQ Youth – sherlockshomes.org/resources/?msclkid=30d5987b40b41a4098ccfcf8f52cef10&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Homelessness%20Resources&utm_term=LGBTQ%20Homeless%20Youth%20Resources&utm_content=Homelessness%20Resources%20-%20Standard%20Ad%20Group
Colorado LGBTQ History Project – lgbtqcolorado.org/programs/lgbtq-history-project/
Pride Month History – history.com/topics/gay-rights/pride-month