I Owe Pride Month My Effort

I Owe Pride Month My Effort

Equality is everyone's issue.

Pride Month is fiercely important. It requires us to direct attention to the LGBTQIA+ community, a community that deserves attention and action at all times, but so sparingly receives it. Annual parades, marches, and protests allow for a celebration of people, for increased visibility, and for recognition of a history often untold.

For anyone who isn’t part of the community by identity, this month is easy to become detached from. I can say it quite honestly: until high school, I hardly knew that Pride Month existed. I did not know that identifying as anything other than straight was as socially or politically stigmatized as it continues to be.

According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, "About four-in-ten (39%) say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” When I was 15, my cousin came out to me. Thus far, only myself and one other family know.

I don’t have a voice for the LGBTQIA+ community that is genuinely validated because I do not know the experience of being in it. I cannot speak on their behalf. I do not have to worry about trusting a cousin who, past midnight, might reveal herself to be open to the idea of love that does not involve marrying a man and having his children. I do not have to worry about being rejected by a family member or close friend, rejecting me because of my sexual orientation or gender identity.

American law has taught me that being straight grants a privilege that others do not enjoy. Just two years past the success of making same-sex marriage a national law, the protections provided to transgender students were rescinded. This month commemorates the Stonewall Riots of 1969, riots for equality that have yet to fully succeed in their aim. Though I may not understand the experience of living as part of that community, it is human to understand that the absence of rights and acceptance experienced by a cousin, friend, or citizen is unjust.

I am not part of the LGBTQIA+ acronym, but as someone on the sidelines, it is very much my job to use my privilege for the benefit of the community. It is my job to educate others, to demonstrate acceptance, and to promote safety. Pride Month is not about me, but it demands my action. It is a chance for me and people like me to show solidarity, support, and strength. This isn’t to say that that effort ends with June. The ability to do this is a permanent one, and this month simply provides a much needed spotlight.

Happy Pride!

Volunteer opportunities can be found with The Ali Forney Center, Hetrick Martin Institute, SAGE, Brooklyn Community Pride Center, and LGBT Community Center.

Cover Image Credit: rihaij / Pixabay

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6 Shows That Have Fabulous LGBT Representation

We all need a little rainbow sometimes.

In today's society, the LGBT community has way more representation than we would've ever thought possible a few decades ago! Here are my top six shows that have fabulous LGBT representation.

1. "Pretty Little Liars"

One of the main characters in this show comes out in the first season whenever she ends up falling for the new girl. It shows the struggle she had coming out and the difficulty her mom had accepting it at first. It handles the situation very well and very accurate, in my opinion. Throughout the show, there are many more characters to represent the LGBT community—including one girl who shows that sexuality can be fluid by never actually labeling herself.

2. "Orange Is The New Black"

Anyone who's seen this show knows it's probably one of the gayest things ever. It really does show every part of the rainbow, though! There's tons of lesbian characters, one who may possibly identify as bisexual, a male guard who's gay, and a transgender woman. They even mention the Kinsey Scale, which is basically something that shows there are grey areas of sexuality. It's not just you're either this or that.

3. "RuPaul's Drag Race"

For anyone who expects a show about cars racing...well, I guess you'll be getting a big ol' surprise. This show is a competition for drag queens for who will become the next drag superstar. So as you might've guessed, it's pretty darn gay. I love the art and entertainment of drag, though! It's a way for these people to explore and show their individuality and creativity. There are even a few transgender queens to represent the T in LGBT!

4. "Grey's Anatomy"

Calzona represents the lesbian and the bisexual communities! On top of having a lesbian couple in the show, they get married and have a baby, too! It shows that gay couple is just as normal as other couples. They have the right to be married and have a family just like anyone else.

5. "The L Word"

It's all in the title, honestly. This show has lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender representation...lots of it. There are gay families, a family with a transgender father, and a few other quirky couples.

6. "Shameless"

The main character in this show is gay, and there are a few others! There's one guy who's a "manly man" who happens to be gay, which shows that masculinity has nothing to do with sexuality. There's transgender characters in later seasons, too!

Have fun binge watching!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram/@abercrombie

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7 Modern Civil Rights Activists We Should Appreciate

Voices that are shaping our generation.

Although Black History Month has come to a reluctant end, I think it is appropriate that we still highlight the prominent leaders and figures of our current generation that are following the steps of the past GOAT’s to pave an easier path from African American’s in the future and bringing light to social injustices.

These great minds will eventually shape our future generations, and lead our country to true equality. They provide our dark world seemingly full of hate, malice, and not enough love with hope and inspiration. And while challenging the overwhelming adversity from nay-sayers and other supporters that oppose any forward-thinking movement that seeks to advance the entire African American community, these individuals are ruthless in their approach to assure that justice is served.

These seven activists have a lot to prove and have already impacted masses on a global level. It is only right to celebrate them and their valiant efforts.

1. Jesse Williams

This actor from Grey’s Anatomy is more than just a pretty face and pair of blue eyes. Along with protesting the heinous acts of police brutality, this man sits on the board of directors for the “Advancement Project” which is a nonprofit founded by civil-rights attorneys, dedicated to racial justice issues. He’s also produced the documentary, “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement.”

2. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi

A fearless and brave young woman who was arrested in South Carolina for removing the Confederate flag from a Confederate monument at the Statehouse. During this time, much controversy rose about the Confederate flag being a symbol of racism, while others thought of it as a symbol of victory over war. Nonetheless, Miss Newsome was not having it.

3. “Black Twitter”

Although not a person, the Black community on Twitter is highly supportive of each other, and they work together to expose racists, get them fired, and basically cope with each other in these trying times when the media means to expose and propagandize African Americans as inhumane.

4. Quanell X

Despite the derogatory statements about him, he is the leader of the New Black Panther party in Houston, TX. He is renowned for his faceoffs with white supremacists on Fox 26 News.

5. Michelle Alexander

While there are those who are more radical in their approach for reform, Alexander, a scholar and civil rights lawyer has written a book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness.” This book, which is about the alarming numbers of African Americans in jail, has become the Bible for modern civil rights activists and is a touchstone for activists on the rise.

6. Colin Kaepernick

We could never forget this former 49er quarterback who sparked the #TakeAKnee protest. During his career, Kaepernick refused to stand during the National Anthem because he did not believe in priding a country that ultimately despises and systematically abuses African Americans. Since being a free agent, Kaepernick has inspired many athletes to stand (or not to stand) for what they believe in.

7. Kendrick Lamar

It’s quite evident that this rapper’s striking lyrics such as “DNA” and “Alright” provoke the struggle and truth behind Black America. Lamar’s bold lyrics and activism in the black community provide hope awaken young African American’s to own their identity and begin to seek and enforce radical change of the system.

These are few of the many activists that stream from many walks of life and inspire Black America in their own, very unique way. Yet, these individuals continue to work outside of Black History Month to achieve racial equality every single day.

Cover Image Credit: Andy Omvik

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