This month is Pride month, which for anyone who is unaware, serves as a time of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community and all of its members. It is a time for parades, concerts, parties, and the coming together of an entire community.

However, celebrating Pride should be about more than rainbow flags or parading through the streets (even though it's awesome). This celebration's messages about love, respect, strength, and acceptance should be carried beyond June. The month should serve as the foundation for continuous support of the LGBTQ+ community and their fight for equal rights and protection or even more simply for the acceptance and love that they deserve as human beings.

For me, Pride Month serves as a reminder of how far we have come as a community and the influence that members of the community have had on my life. This month is a time for me to think about the journey of individuals that I know within the LGBTQ+ community. It's a reminder that I have two phenomenal mothers who I absolutely love and I am proud of that. It's also a reminder that I am proud to be a bisexual woman, no matter what anyone thinks or says about it.

It's a time to listen to the stories of others and celebrate the journeys of each individual because believe me, the journey to self-love and self-acceptance is not always easy for members of the LGBTQ+ community. It's also a time to show support to friends, family, and even strangers as they march (literally and figuratively) on their own personal journey. A moment to say "I accept you. I am proud of you. I love you and I will always be here for you, regardless of how you identify or who you choose to love." Most importantly, it's a time to embrace the beauty found in each member of the community for existing as their authentic selves and recognize the power that it takes to accomplish that. It should focus on a celebration of the courage and resilience that the LGBTQ+ community has every single day in the face of hate, discrimination, and even violence.

Over the past few decades in the US, the LGBTQ+ community has gained more national recognition and rights, culminating with the 2015 Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage a right (FINALLY). While large strides have been made, hatred and discrimination still exist within society, our government (mainly Trump), and organizations like the Catholic Church (particularly Bishop Tobin in Providence). That's why it is important as we celebrate Pride this month to acknowledge that the LGBTQ+ community is still far from being seen as equal both in the eyes of the public and the law.

Still, wear your rainbow attire with pride (no pun intended) if that is what makes you feel like your best, most authentic self. But regardless of your participation in parades or events, take time (this month or year) to acknowledge the deeper significance of pride. Recognize what we need to do moving forward to support all those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and to protect those who fear how that identification could change their lives.