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June 2023 is LGBTQ+ Pride Month

In June of every year, we celebrate Pride month in the United States. This is an important time to come together in the LGBTQ+ community to share our stories, and to bring awareness to issues of inequality that still face the LGBTQ+ community today.

According to USA Today,

Pride Month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York and celebrates the LGBTQ community and the fight for equal rights.
The Stonewall Uprising began on June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a prominent gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The subsequent protests over the next six days are credited with a shift in LGBTQ activism in the U.S.

Many of the people involved in the original Stonewall uprising were Trans Women, and Trans Women of color. However, these groups are still marginalized in the US today, and there is still a fight for equality.

Throughout the month, there are Pride parades and marches in many major cities, where everyone can show their pride and help to bring awareness to issues that are facing the LGBTQ+ community today.

In 2022, there were bills passed throughout the country which target the LGBTQ+ community. This includes the Florida "don't say gay" bill, which targets school children.

According to CNN,

“We have seen the scope and scale of these attacks increase over the last few years, starting around 2020-2021,” said Gillian Branstetter, communications strategist for the ACLU. “This year, it’s not just the total number that has gotten worse, but the extremity of the bills.”
Several states have introduced “forced outing” bills, which would require teachers to alert parents when a student begins going by a different name or pronouns, even without the consent of the student. Sixty of the education-related bills introduced this year are “forced outings” bills, according to ACLU data.

Although the supposed aim of these bills is to protect school children, in fact it does the opposite. It erodes trust that students could feel at school and with their teachers. It forces children to stay silent and in the closet out of fear. This persecution of young LGBTQ+ people is a violent backlash against LGBTQ+ rights for our community.

There have also been bills introduced which limit gender affirming care for trans children and youth. Some go as far as criminalizing parents for seeking out this care for their children, and would remove children from their care if they try to seek gender affirming care.

The introduction of these bills which go against LGBTQ+ rights is an indication that advocacy is still strongly needed in our times, so that equality will not come further under attack, and our youth can feel safe being who they are.

According to Trans Legislation,

In 2023, we see a continuation of trends from the past few years: blocking trans kids and teachers from being visible in schools, and denying state recognition through birth certificates.
Attacks on widely accepted gender-affirming healthcare soared. OK SB129 proposed extending gender-affirming care bans well into adulthood— up to 26 years old. For physicians, this would mean that providing the care supported by every major medical association would result in felony charges and a loss of medical license. Similarly, WY SF0111 would make gender-affirming care child abuse.

All of these bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community are dangerous for our youth and our community. There are already higher rates of suicide and homelessness in LGBTQ+ youth because of the lack of acceptance that they face in society, and these laws only make things worse.

A lack of social acceptance makes it hard for youth to feel safe being who they are, in terms of gender and sexual orientation. The progress that has been made with the legalization of gay marriage is taking a step back in the decade of the 2020's, and it is disheartening to say the least.

We need to work together as a community to influence lawmakers to end this assault on the LGBTQ+ community. This is a dangerous time, and we need to get involved in any way that we can and to speak up against this damaging legislation that is being put forward.

Pride month is a time to raise awareness of these issues, and to speak up for equality for all. Social acceptance can create safety for our youth, our community, and every LGBTQ+ person as an individual. We all deserve to have this sense of safety, and the freedom to be who we are without fear of retribution and violence.

As pride month moves forward, we can all do our part to speak up. There are many equality campaigns worldwide, and the UN provides a helpful list for you to browse and find out more information. You can join a campaign, support LGBTQ+ rights through the ACLU, or get involved with other organizations at your local level.

It is also important for each of us to speak up in our own lives to combat homophobia and transphobia that we encounter on a daily basis. Sharing our stories, as well as information and facts to combat stereotypes can go a long way towards supporting equality in society.

Everyone in the LGBTQ+ community deserves to feel heard and safe. The more we can each do to further this cause, the more society will move forward in its views. It is also important to make sure to vote for legislative representatives who value LGBTQ+ rights, so that few of the bills coming forward will make it into law, and equality can be championed on capitol hill.

This pride month, I hope that we can all do our part to further the cause of equality for all, and to create a better and safer world for our LGBTQ+ youth.


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