Every June I hear at least a few people ask “why do we need a pride month or to have a big parade to show our support of the LGBTQIA+ community?” For folx who are cisgender (meaning your gender and your sex assigned at birth align), heterosexual (meaning you are attracted to folx of the opposite gender), and monogamous (meaning you only have one partner romantically, sexually, etc.), operating in a primarily cisgender, heterosexual, monogamous culture, it might seem very easy to miss. However, there is a very real, lived experience for those who don’t operate in the confining box that culture has tried to fit them in, and Pride is a great way to celebrate life’s differences and acknowledge that we’re not all the same.
- Pride month is a more concerted effort on the community as a whole to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a great opportunity for local businesses and larger corporations to demonstrate their support of those in this community and allows for (what we would hope) a safe space to be created where LGBTQIA+ folx can show up and be themselves fully without the fear of rejection/discrimination/violence, etc.
- Pride celebrations offer the LGBTQIA+ community an opportunity to be fully expressive. People who may not normally feel comfortable to express themselves have a space where they can connect with like-minded, kindred spirits to let loose and embrace this aspect of their sexuality they may not normally feel safe/confident/comfortable enough embrace.
- It’s a reminder to cis- het- monogamous folx that not everyone is the same and we need to keep fighting for diversity and inclusion. This is one big push once a year to really put Pride at the forefront and remind folx outside of the LGBTQIA+ community that people may experience sexuality/gender/love differently but that doesn’t make them: immoral, deviant, broken, etc. It’s a good reminder to advocate for those in the LGBTQIA+ community for their rights and safety and it’s a good opportunity to see who other allies are to make it easier to collaborate and join forces.
While Pride is about fullness of expression and is a wonderfully joyous occasion, underneath that is the reminder of how much the LGBTQIA+ community has had and continues to have to fight for their rights as human beings. Folx in the LGBTQIA+ community are much more prone to experiencing violence and discrimination than cis-, het-folx, let alone minorities in these groups. There is no reason that harm should be coming to someone simply because they are attracted to someone or experience their gender expression differently than you. At the end of the day, we are human beings. Simply being LGBTQIA+ doesn’t make you a good or bad person. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to get married, get access to quality healthcare, hold hands with your partner walking down the street without fear, etc.
There are so many negative, hateful people that actively attempt to harm LGBTQIA+ folx simply because they are different or because of twisted religious dogma. I’m pretty sure being hateful to someone and physically causing them harm goes against every religion out there. Fun fact: A LOT of people are sexually fluid and simply don’t allow themselves the gentleness to tap into and explore that. Culture/religion/family upbringing/sex negativity, etc. all play a role in holding people back from being curious about why they are the way they are and if it actually aligns with themselves.
Pride is a wonderful time of year to celebrate people’s differences and to enjoy expression of self in whatever way feels most in alignment with you. Why would we not have a month to remind ourselves and others that whoever you are, whoever you love, you are worth celebrating and are worthy of experiencing the full joy of being your best self?