50 years ago, a revolution began; 50 years later the progress we have made has come under attack. We refused to remain shrinking violets hidden in dark corners then and we refuse to go back to the unacceptable stigmatization of LGBT+ people now.
We are here. We are queer, whether others get used to it or not. That said, let’s help them know our true selves and the reality that exists inside our Pride Parade mantras and cheers. It’s up to them on how they receive that information. It is up to us to be bold enough to give voice to our freedom; our freedom that is and is to come.
Where do we go from here? Will answer that in a moment.
Pride month was born out of the Stonewall Riots and continues to impact our nation and world every single year. Pride parades fill the month of June but there are parades almost all year long. Here in Orlando, we have Gay Days the first weekend of June, but our Pride parade is usually in October around the time of National Coming Out day (October 11th). It is a day to let our hair down (or up, or weaved or wigged, or bald…whatever works :)) but also to celebrate what systemic bigotry and violence couldn’t erase … me, you, us.
Here’s a Pride Month Action item list for those that might be Interested:
- Speak and live your truth without shame or hypocrisy.
- Determine the next right step in sharing about your life with someone else. Whether it is the first time or the millionth time, find someone to befriend and let into your life.
- Find a way to bless/encourage/uplift your LGBT+ brother or sisters. I would emphasize your Trans brothers and sisters this year. In honor of the Trans and gender non-conforming people at Stonewall that fateful night as well as all the current trials and tribulations, our Trans siblings are facing.
- Find a way to bless/encourage/uplift the communities we live in at large (donate to homeless shelters, feed/clothe the hungry or homeless, support public policy that benefits us all, not just special interests, … etc.)
- Be gracious and kind to those the Universe allows you to meet or have direct contact with. We want others to honor our journey, so let’s do our best to honor theirs.
- Meet others personal hatred and bigotry with courageous empathy and intentional wisdom.
- Meet systemic hatred and bigotry with a loud voice, peaceful powerful memorable protests #Resist, and get a voter’s registration card that means something.
And lastly, honor your LGBT+ elders. Find someone in the generations that came before you and make a legitimate effort to reach out and give some love to them. Thank them for their journey and sacrifice. Every one of them did every time they shared their Truth. As we know it is a very high price to pay to do so in many cases. But remember, many of them paid with blood and a level of rejection that our generations have not had to experience as often as they did because of their boldness and sacrifice. Even though it is very far from perfect today, we are so much further down the road because of the generations before us. Our LGBT+ elders deserve honor and respect. We honor the legacy of Stonewall when we do.
So, to answer the earlier question of where do we go from here? Equipped with wisdom, empowered by love, and intentional empathy … we can and will go anywhere we want.