For those who don't know, June is LGBT Pride month. This is an extremely important milestone and yearly acknowledgment that the LGBT community is represented and gets to be wholeheartedly proud of who they are and what they stand for. The continuous (yet sometimes slow) forward progress of this movement is inspiring and encouraging for people in the community, and even for those who simply exist alongside it without actually being a member. The reason there is no pride month for other groups of people is that they already had their turn fighting for their rights. Other groups such as religious groups or even different gender groups have fought long and hard (and continue to fight) for their freedom and right to be proud of who they are. The bottom line is that a person is a person regardless of their differences including gender identity, sexual or romantic preferences, or even just something they’re passionate about. There’s a lot of fear and stigma still around LGBT people and the time that is spent arguing about the role they play in this society. But the truth is, what other people do, or who other people love, or have relationships with is no business but their own.
The most important thing to me about pride month is letting people be who they are. We are not simply defined by our gender identity or sexuality. There is so much more to us as people than who we love, or who loves us. We are people first, and we are all unique. People shouldn’t have to be afraid and they shouldn’t want to run and hide the person they are from the rest of the world. Because no matter who you are, you are valid and just being the you that you are is absolutely something to be proud of. Even if you’re trapped and can’t show your pride publicly, it’s still just as important to have pride and be proud of those around you too. Everyone is at different stages of their lives, and different stages of being proud of who they are. This doesn’t mean any one person’s experiences are any less important than another. Luckily this fight is not just being fought by those who are members of this community, but the growth comes from the attention that the LGBT population receives. Sometimes this attention isn’t always positive, but that’s even more of a reason for those with a voice to speak for those who are scared or in danger or trapped behind the shell of pretending to be someone they aren’t.
For me, as someone who is deeply and personally impacted by this community, pride month represents the fight that has not come to an end just yet for equality and an end to discrimination based on these things that just shouldn’t separate us anymore. Pride month represents togetherness. Pride represents confidence and love, and it oozes out of every pore and off every tongue that supports the pride movement, and the events that take place this month. Having pride isn’t always easy, especially if it’s a situation where the people in your life or in your government don’t support you. It can feel like a never-ending battle where you’re always losing. But that’s the exact reason why you need to keep the pride alive. It's to stand up to the institutions that block us from progressing that we use to fuel our passion.
Whether you celebrate by going to parades and rallies of pride and flying rainbow flags high in the sky, or simply giving yourself a little more credit when you look in the mirror, I’m beyond proud of you, and you should be proud, too.This month is for you, and all those like you who are reading this for whatever reason. Whether you celebrate or not, or whether you identify in this population or not, I just really think it's time for the changes to really start happening and really start making a difference in the way we view LGBT+ individuals in our communities, nations, and in the world. It can start this month, right where we are, by simply raising awareness and fighting for human rights. In a world so full of hatred and fear, spread love this month and always. Some people need it more than you may think.