June is LGBTQ Pride Month across the country. And, although not all are acknowledging it (for the first time in eight years), it doesn’t mean that it isn’t being celebrated! Parades and protests and gatherings of all kinds will take place all month long.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month (LGBTQ Pride Month) is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Manhattan.
The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events.
Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
In 1994, a coalition of education-based organizations in the United States designated October as LGBT History Month. In 1995, a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association included LGBT History Month within a list of commemorative months.
Listen, I know for some people this is a controversial topic. I hope someday that we live in a world where that isn’t the case, but for now all we can ask for is progress. With that, I just ask you to take a few minutes and consider this. What if your rights were being infringed upon?
Imagine with me for just a minute…
What if all you wanted to do was go to the store and grab some milk, but someone, somewhere along the way decided that because other animals don’t drink milk past infancy, it’s unnatural for you to do so, so no more milk for you. Think about it. You drinking milk isn’t bothering anyone. It’s not affecting anyone else and really, what does anyone care if you drink milk. You aren’t lactose intolerant, so it’s safe for you to do. You aren’t out there trying to convert others to milk. You don’t care if they do or don’t, but you really like milk and you feel like you should be able to have it. Who is someone else to decide what’s OK and not OK for you to drink?
That’s how the LGBTQ community feels. Only they are faced with threats, and violence and discrimination for a lifestyle that affects no one but themselves and the people they are involved with. No one in the LGBTQ community is asking you to give up your rights for theirs; they just want theirs respected.
There are roughly 1,100 benefits afforded to married couples in the United States. Things like hospital visitation and filing joint tax returns, and access to family health coverage — just to name a couple. Shouldn’t everyone who loves someone, is in a healthy, committed, consensual relationship be afforded the same rights? Gender has no bearing on love and commitment.
The fact of the matter is — the LGBTQ community isn’t going anywhere. They are not going to go back to the closet. They aren’t and shouldn’t have to walk in fear of who they were born to be.
No one should experience bullying, harassment, or discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Not agreeing with a life that is different than yours, doesn’t give you free range to respond with judgment and certainly not violence.
Pride month is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ community and the rights they are advocating for.
As far as I know, there are no Pride events scheduled in the immediate area — hopefully that will change in the coming years (and please correct me if I am wrong!) — but if you want to get out and be supportive there is the Central PA Pride Festival in Harrisburg in July and in Erie and Lancaster this weekend.
Anything small helps fight for equality. Hang a flag, change your Facebook picture or start using the pride reaction button (If you don’t have the flag reaction button, like LGBTQ@Facebook page and you will get it), speak up when you hear discriminatory talk. Support locally owned LGBTQ businesses. You don’t have to be gay to be supportive. #Loveislove