We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not gonna disappear. Pride Month is right around the corner, and like many people I find myself concerned once again about the safety of our community.
Table of Contents
I thought we’d made progress, and though things have changed for the better in the last decade, the far-right is once again threatening our lives.
I’m not going to lie. I do worry for my safety and the safety of all of us. I’ve tried ignoring all the noise there’s out there against the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve tried telling myself that most people are on our side and that the hate will eventually go away when those who hate us realize they’re in the minority. I’ve tried to brush off what some state governments are doing against our human rights in places like Florida and Texas. But the forces working against us are growing stronger by the minute, and I can no longer ignore them.
The good news
The world is not the same place it was when I was younger. Simple as that.
I see young adults in my small conservative town express their identities in ways I’d never seen, leat alone imagine, when I was in college. And I’m not jealous, I’m actually happy for them. When I was in high school I only knew of one openly queer person in my entire generation (at the time I didn’t even know I was part of this amazing community).
Now days, I see way more openly queer people in a single classroom than I saw in an entire school when I was a teen. This truly makes me happy. Thought I still see homophobia and transphobia, I see more acceptance and open mindedness in younger folks, which leads me to be hopeful about the future and the future of queer people in my conservative hometown.
The bad and the ugly
Yet, some groups have started to be more vocal about their hatred against us. Such is the case of Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis who’s passed and signed six anti-LGBTQ+ bills while demonstrating open hostility towards the African American and Latino communities.
Sadly, things don’t stop here… other states like Texas, and even other nations of the world, are working on their own discriminatory laws. Let us not forget that it is still illegal to be queer in over 40 nations around the world, and some conservative groups would like to see that number go way up.
Unfortunately, this hatred doesn’t stop with discriminatory laws, it has real life consequences. Just recently we learned about a brutal attack on a 14 year-old from Ireland by his classmates because of his sexuality. Things like these trouble me deeply.
Why Pride Month maters
I truly believe that Pride Month can be a catalyst for positive change. Here are some of the ways life for everyone in the community can be improved by celebrating it and making ourselves visible:
- Advocacy and Activism: Pride Month provides a platform for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies to engage in advocacy and activism. It offers opportunities to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, promote equal rights, and challenge discrimination. Through marches, protests, and other forms of activism, Pride Month encourages individuals to take a stand and demand change.
- Policy Reform: The increased visibility and activism during Pride Month can lead to policy reform at local, national, and international levels. It puts pressure on governments and institutions to address issues such as anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, marriage equality, transgender rights, and comprehensive LGBTQ+ healthcare. Pride Month events and campaigns often focus on specific policy goals to bring about meaningful change.
- Education and Awareness: Pride Month creates a platform for education and awareness about LGBTQ+ issues. It encourages individuals and organizations to learn about the experiences, challenges, and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. This increased knowledge can lead to greater empathy, understanding, and support for LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions.
- Community Building and Solidarity: Pride Month fosters a sense of community and solidarity among LGBTQ+ individuals and allies. It brings people together in celebration, providing spaces for connection, support, and empowerment. This sense of unity can translate into collective action and create a stronger voice for the LGBTQ+ community, leading to positive change.
- Cultural Change: Pride Month plays a significant role in challenging societal norms and promoting cultural change. The visibility and celebration of LGBTQ+ identities and experiences help break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and promote acceptance. Pride Month events, including parades, festivals, and cultural performances, contribute to a more inclusive and diverse society.
- Inspiring Future Generations: Pride Month provides role models and inspiration for LGBTQ+ youth and future generations. By showcasing the achievements and contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals, it encourages young people to embrace their identities, pursue their dreams, and contribute to society. This can lead to a more inclusive and accepting future.
How to participate
I can’t tell you what to do nor how to do it, but I’d like to invite you to partake in this years Pride Month in whichever way you can.
What I CAN DO is tell you what I’m doing to show my pride. These are some of the things I do year round:
I’m doing my best to create safe spaces online and in my community by visibly showing my support for the community. I wear pride related gear to signal other queer people around me that they’ll be safe in those spaces, and I decorate my online spaces with flags and rainbow colors to signal the same.
Safe spaces are vital for the LGBTQ+ community as these offer emotional support, validation, community-building, knowledge, empowerment, and physical safety. These spaces play a significant role in fostering well-being, resilience, and social progress for individuals within the LGBTQ+ community.
I also try to participate in LGBTQ+ culture by using design and my creativity. I’ve created wallpapers depicting LGBTQ+ themes and popular TV shows like Heartstopper. I believe that this kind of actions foster community growth and help others feel safer in certain spaces, while at the same time being low key tools to signal other queer people in conservative areas that they’re safe and have at least another member of the community near them.
I won’t lie to you. I still fear for my safety and my future while doing these small acts of bravery. I fear I might loose my job if I’m too open about my true self. I even fear I might loose out on other professional opportunities for being open about my queerness (one of the many reasons I’m still not out to everyone in my social circles). But I do believe that by taking small steps and showing kindness we can have a bigger positive impact than we think on those around us. All it takes to fight hate is to show a little love.
Like always, until next time,