Updated: Jun 26, 2022
June is Pride Month and as an ally, I wanted to show my support to the LGBTQ+ community by celebrating them. And since I wanted to show my support by doing more than just posting to social media and attending the occasional LGBTQ+ event, I decided to walk in my first pride parade ever at the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sunday, June 5th, in Fair Park, Dallas. This is the first time a company I work for has sponsored a Pride event, and I was excited to be a part of it. My new employer, Prism Health of North Texas, is one of the largest nonprofits in the DFW area that specializes in HIV healthcare. We had a float and a team of walkers and I’m so glad I joined them.
The Pride Parade was a fun and colorful event with floats, costumes, bands, performers, and groups all marching to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. It felt like a safe place for many people to be their authentic selves, where everyone was welcome. It was a hot afternoon so I expected the crowd to number in the hundreds, but there were thousands of people gathered along the parade route, ready to celebrate who they are.
LGBTQ+ Pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as a social group. June is Pride Month, one time of the year when we celebrate the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history. LGBTQ+ Pride Month occurs in June in the United States to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which happened at the end of June 1969. Early on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 1969, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan, New York City. This riot and further protests and rioting over the following nights were the watershed moment in the modern LGBT rights movement and the impetus for organizing LGBT pride marches on a much larger public scale.
Three presidents of the United States have officially declared a Pride Month. The first, President Bill Clinton, declared June Gay & Lesbian Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Then, every year he was in office, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month. In 2021, President Joe Biden declared June LGBTQ+ Pride Month. (Donald Trump became the first Republican president to acknowledge LGBT Pride Month in 2019, but he did so through tweeting rather than an official proclamation; the tweet was later released as an official
"Statement from the President.")
The current political climate is not conducive to LGBTQ+ inclusion. In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has directed state employees to open child abuse investigations into families that provide gender-affirming care to their trans children.
Legislators in 19 states have introduced bills that aim to restrict children’s access to gender-affirming care, and legislators in 30 states have introduced proposals to exclude transgender children from youth athletics. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
Currently, there is no such instructions happening and this bill seems to be a dog whistle, creating a solution to a problem that does not exist. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has said he will prioritize passing legislation that mimics this recently signed Florida bill. Enforcing Florida’s law falls to parents, much like how Texas’s restrictive abortion law, Senate Bill 8, empowers private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. A parent can sue a school district for damages if they believe it has broken the law. If they win, parents will receive money and recoup attorney fees. In Florida, the law’s supporters portrayed it as a way to give more rights to parents.
Governor Greg Abbott has similarly said parents should have more rights concerning their children’s education as he campaigns for a third term.
Apart from voting out these bigoted Republicans and electing Legislators that are inclusive, it’s a great time to recognize the contributions of your LGBTQ+ peers, learn a little bit more about LGBTQ+ history, celebrate diversity, and consider the ways that you can contribute to creating a more inclusive society.
Attend a Pride Parade or event! Here is a helpful link for
local events: https://dfwgay.com/
Be an ally!
When someone in your life tells you that they are LGBTQ+, it can be difficult to know how to respond. Your initial reaction may be one of surprise, excitement, confusion, discomfort, or none of the above. Be honest in your response, but you should also recognize the importance of your response and the impact it may have.
Volunteer or donate!
Give back to the community through a volunteer initiative such as supporting a local LGBT+ youth or community center or raising money for a charity/foundation such as the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
Here are some helpful links:
Become an advocate!
If your workplace doesn’t already have a Pride Employee Network, then start one!
Spend some time learning about the history of Pride, a movement precipitated by the Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York.
Support LGBTQ+ art and culture!
The LGBTQ+ art community is vibrant, influential and pervasive. Go see a LGBT+-themed show or movie, visit an LGBTQ+ art gallery, or buy an album from an LGBT+ artist.
Consider Your Company’s LGBTQ+ Inclusivity!
Does your company have a culture and resources that promote LGBT+ inclusivity? Is there something you can do to make LGBT+ coworkers feel more comfortable in your office?
Is there a benefit that excludes LGBT+ employees? Start a dialogue and make resources available to try to create a workplace where LGBT+ employees will feel valued and accepted.