(For June, which is designated LGBTQ Pride Month, Q Voice News featured a series of first person essays under the theme What Pride Means To Me. (Click the link to read other articles in the series.) We all know Pride is more than one month and have extended the series. This essay is written by Maebe A. Girl, a civic minded member of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, who also is the first drag queen elected to public office in the United States. Happy Pride.)
What Pride Means To Me
Every year in June, rainbow flags are raised for Pride events across the nation to celebrate the existence and persistence of LGBTQ+ people. Parades are held and the festivities are gay. It’s beautiful that we can step out onto the streets and be proud of who we are.
Also, queer people can get married, are represented in the media, and walk down the street holding hands — That gives me hope for a better tomorrow.
However, I fear that these milestones are being mistaken for true equality and that has bred a feeling of complacency when much more work is needed for true LGBTQ+ equality.
Lack of LGBTQ visibility
I was born in 1986, in the middle of the AIDS crisis that brought such devastation and sorrow to the queer community. This was unbeknownst to me as the media prevented us from learning about anything queer until shows like “Will & Grace” and “Queer as Folk” boldly entered our television culture.
By that point, as a gay teenager, the only thing I knew about being gay was that I assumed it was wrong. That belief was based on what little media coverage gay people received, both in the news and through lack of representation via queer storylines.
More LGBTQ representation
Kids today seem to have an easier time coming out to themselves and to others due to an increased visibility of LGBTQ+ people in the media and through greater social acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in America. It charms me that you can find families of all kinds celebrating at Pride.
But we cannot forget that it is still legal to be fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity in 26 states.
- We cannot forget that our current administration has failed Americans by banning trans people from serving in the military.
- We especially cannot forget that trans women of color are being beaten and murdered in the streets at alarming rates.
- We cannot forget that their black and brown bodies are being mutilated and dumped in lakes simply because of who they are.
Protesting for equality, safety
Attending parades and having fun is important, but never forget that Pride started as a protest and that we need to continue protesting until all LGBTQ+ people are fully protected under the law and our murder rates are zero.
How can you help the people in your community, especially the most vulnerable ones like trans women of color? Recognition is a good start, but we need action on behalf of the people and our lawmakers.
Minority issues are intersectional. If we take the time to recognize the similarities of our oppression, then we can tackle this together, and maybe the future will be brighter, not just in June.