Why the Need for Pride?
There’s something about the month of June that just tends to put people in such a great mood, you know? June is typically the beginning of summer vacation for kids and teens, it’s the month when the sun really begins to shine and the weather warms up, everything becomes so green and lush, days can be spent by the pool or hanging out at a softball/baseball game, and many people begin to take their family vacations.
Yes, it’s true that June is a turning point in the year for many people but for one community, it’s about so much more. For the LGBTQIA+ community, June is a month for pride, for celebration of being oneself, and for recognizing the hardships that this community has gone through and continues to go through.
Pride Month’s roots can be found in the 1969 Stonewall riots. The Stonewall riots began on June 28, 1969 after the NYPD raided a gay club in Greenwich Village in New York City, sparking outrage and leading to protests advocating for equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community all across the country.
Since the Stonewall riots in 1969, many great strides have been made in the push for equality. Same sex marriage is federally recognized, LGBTQIA+ members have the opportunity to receive the same employment and education benefits as any other citizen, same sex couples and LGBTQIA+ singles are legally able to adopt children, and advances have been made in mental health services, medical services, and many other services for recognized and unrecognized members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Many people are then left asking, “Why the need for a month of Pride?”
The answer is simple. While all these great steps have been made in America to make our communities more inclusive, the LGBTQIA+ community is still very much a marginalized community. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “In 2017, 7,175 hate crimes were reported, 1,130 of which were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias.” (Human Rights Campaign, 2018)
Not only that, but members of the LGBTQIA+ face much higher rates of poverty, homelessness, and stigma, putting them at higher risks of becoming victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women along with 26% of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Those numbers get even higher with individuals who identify as transgender. (NCADV, 2018)
Why the need for a month of Pride, indeed.
Pride Month is a chance for us all, LGBTQIA+ members or not, to celebrate equality and inclusivity, but to also recognize that a community is still very much hurting.
Reread this and rejoice in how far we have come as a nation to recognize that all of us deserve to feel respected, loved, and human.
At the same time, reread this and realize that we have work to do to continue to show our fellow humans, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, age, ability, and appearance, that we see you, we care about you, and we want you to lead happy and healthy lives free from violence and oppression.
In the words of the late Human Rights Activist and Gay Rights Movement pioneer, Harvey Milk, “If you are not personally free to be yourself in that most important of all human activities, the expression of love, then life itself loses its meaning.”
If you, or someone you love, is struggling with any of the topics mentioned above, give us a call. We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a judgement free atmosphere and to provide you with whatever resources you may need to heal.