If you're reading this, it's July, which means Pride Month is officially over. Yet it seems to me that we shouldn't just be advocating for and celebrating those in the LGBTQ+ community for one month out of an entire year. The whole premise of Pride stems from honoring the Stonewall Riots, which were necessary demonstrations because of the constant discrimination and prejudice those in the community experience.
With the month being over, I think it's important to stop and think about how the mentality of "pride" is one that ought to be lived out the entire year.
For those who consider themselves a part of the LGBTQ+ community, out or not: keep being you. In a world that often wants to shame you for who you are, know you are seen, heard, loved, supported, among so many other things, simply because you are human. I, along with so many others, see your strength and I honor it. You are so valued.
For those of you who are allies, continue to be the wonderful humans you are. Continue to offer space for those who often go unseen and support those around you as best as you can. You really do not know how much of a difference your actions make on the lives of those you interact with. You are also so valued.
Pride month may be over, but the realities of living as someone in the LGBTQ+ community remain constant.
Those in this community are not always accepted for who they are. They may feel scared to show affection in public, or to be out in their workplace. They may struggle to find housing, to have children, or to see themselves represented in the media. They may feel disconnected from the faith they were raised with or be questioned by those around to as to the validity of their feelings. These are all things that aren't going to change overnight, I recognize that.
But in the meantime, I urge us all to simply love and accept those around us, simply because they are human, not just in June, but every day of the year.
Isn't that what we were put on Earth to do? To love and be loved? Seems pretty clear to me.
I think it is also important to recognize those in the community who go unnoticed even more than others might. People of color, for example, in the LGBTQ+ community, face harsher discrimination than white people in the same community. It is important to remember that being an ally does not just mean supporting your white gay male coworker, but POC and those who are trans as well.
As someone who attended Houston Pride this year, and heard about my pride back home in NYC, I can personally say that the love that envelops this community is real, that the hope and positivity that the community has is one that ought to be celebrated more often.
The people of the LGBTQ+ community are strong and they are proud to be who they are, and that is a beautiful thing.
Change isn't going to happen overnight, but it starts with us. Hopefully, in a few years, more and more people of the LGBTQ+ community will feel consistently seen, valued and heard, because they matter.
No one should ever feel they are not in a space where they cannot be their authentic self.
Here's to celebrating Pride 365 days a year, creating a safe space always.