Now that another SLC pride has come and gone, my thoughts continue to focus on how this is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The month of June honors the riots of 1969, which as you may recall are an important turning point for the LGBT community. These riots began after police raided a club called the Stonewall Inn for violations, angering the LGBT community who felt targeted by the police. What started as a one-day celebration and remembrance grew into a whole month filled with parades and other events to bring people together regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Although the month of June has passed, it is my belief that the spirit of inclusiveness and pride should continue even after LGBT Pride Month has faded into the memories of another summer.
When we ask ourselves, “What is Pride,” I think we could all agree that it is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. However, I believe that it is important that we continue to push that belief one step forward and continue to promote our self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. That’s a lot of words. But simply to sum it up, Pride is an idea that goes beyond the Parade.
I recently read an article about Pride and the modern movement for LGBTQ acceptance. In the article, the author broke out PRIDE as follows:
P: Perseverance — progressing forward in the face of difficulty or oppression
R: Resilience — toughness, bouncing back from pain, and continuing to press on
I: Inclusion — embracing the human desire to be a part of something greater than one’s self
D: Determination — continuing to fight unwavering for rights and dignity in the face of continual hatred, judgment, ignorance, and bigotry
E: Expression — allowing one’s self to be free to live and exist as one wants
While this is a very thought out acrostic, what I find to be key is the message this delivers. It brings forward extremely bold expressions and couples them with the resiliency necessary to weather the storms of life.
When I re-read the message, this sings to me of the type of individuals we need to be all year and not just during a month of celebration.
Even if rainbow products disappear from store shelves, the positive attitude and acceptance fostered by Pride Month needs to persist. Inclusivity should not be limited to a single month every year and treating people with respect and an open mind is something to be practiced all the time. We have fought for well over five decades to be treated with dignity and respect. The fight continues, and we must remain diligent to our cause. Progression is very fickle. The moment you let what you have been fighting for slip, it regresses back to the way it was before. So, lets continue to keep the spirit of pride alive all year. Besides, who doesn’t like an occasional rainbow throughout the year!