June is Pride month in across the U.S. as well as locales around the world. For those who don’t know, Pride month is typically in June because of the Stonewall riots, which took place as a response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Those riots are considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement.
In the more than twenty years I’ve been out, there have been some years that I’ve thought it was crucial to participate in Pride activities. Those are usually tied to what was happening in the marriage equality fight. This is another year that participation and engagement seems a necessity. It’s great that this past weekend there was the Equality March in Washington, D.C. that also featured solidarity marches in other cities across the U.S. and around the world.
With the current social and political climate in the U.S. my hope is this year’s marches and pride celebrations set records for attendance as LGBTQ+ people and allies make themselves heard. So many strides have been made for equality that we must ensure that rollbacks aren’t allowed. We also need to be a clear voice so people who don’t feel safe to come out know there are individuals speaking for them when they cannot.
It was just a year ago, on June 12, that the Pulse Nightclub shootings occurred in Orlando. That tragedy was followed in less than six months with the election of a president who panders to a largely homophobic support base (to be clear, I know that not all of his supporters are homophobic, but I believe most of them are) along with his anti-equality vice president.
What’s happened since Pulse? On the anniversary, an email from Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said this: “The attack at Pulse demonstrated the deadly cost of hate. For many years now, LGBTQ people have been the most common victims of hate crimes in the United States — a trend that has, tragically, continued to grow over the past year.
“Recently, a same-sex couple was denied entrance to a Cincinnati pizzeria simply because they were holding hands. In New York, a gay couple was hit with a brick and called slurs. In the first six months of this year, at least 11 transgender people — many of them trans women of color — have been killed. And shockingly, in 2017, in 31 states it is still legal to refuse to serve a customer on the basis of who they are.”
Those are repulsive statistics.
Some would say the louder LGBTQ+ and our allies are, the more we entice those who are against us. I say too bad. If the haters want to take away our rights, they’re going to have to fight us for it.
I’ve started wearing a bit of pride on my wrist, which makes me more visible. There’s a Pride band for the Apple Watch so now I wear the rainbow everywhere I go. Sometimes it’s not easily visible but most of the time it’s on display.
I bought it because it was cool and pretty and different from a regular watch band. But it also sends the message that I stand for equality. It probably says I’m gay too, but that’s up to the interpretation of the person that sees it. Even if seer chooses to think I’m an ally, it’ll still be a sign of what I believe. I hope it provides the opportunity to open dialogues about the issues with those who don’t understand the importance.
I hope you’ll take a moment during June to proclaim your Pride. Even if you can’t attend a march, perhaps you can let your elected officials know that you support LGBTQ+ rights and expect them to as well. It’s a message that needs to be said loud, proud and often as we move through the coming years.
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Jeff Adams loves hockey, musicals, and watching a good dance—so much so he often incorporates those things into his stories. Speaking of stories, he thinks creating new adventures and characters is a blast. What he loves most, though, is his husband of twenty years, Will. You can learn more about Jeff’s writing at JeffAdamsWrites.com and by listening to Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast.