- Melisa Shafiee
Pride Month is Beyond a Month
Beginning in 1999, June had been dedicated as a month to celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ+ community, and encourage members and allies to demonstrate their “pride” for the group. June became appropriately proclaimed as “Pride Month,” and it has helped to amplify LGBTQ+ culture, commemorate their identities, and serve as a catalyst for institutional change that ensures equality. The events during Pride Month have engaged thousands of Americans, and they are encouraged to show their support for Pride. Some public figures and companies, however, let go of their genuineness and utilize the widespread support for Pride Month as a tool to boost their reputation. It is actions like these that warrant a reminder that Pride Month is not solely a month, but that its messages should continue to be talked about and celebrated throughout the year. The reality is that the LGBTQ+ community is STILL the LGBTQ+ community after June ends. It is essential to continue to empower their identities every day. With over 20% of Gen-Z adults identifying as LGBTQ+, we must work even harder to promote equal treatment amongst Americans, no matter what they identify as. “Love is love,” not only during Pride Month, but all year-round.
Though significant progress has been made to uplift the identities of LGBTQ+ Americans, from increasing media representation to legalizing same-sex marriage in all states, this is not where we should stop. A lot of the media continues to treat the LGBTQ+ community as a taboo idea, and when they do choose to represent the LGBTQ+ community, it sometimes reflects negative stereotypes. In the political sphere, the rights of LGBTQ+ people are being jeopardized after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stated that rulings that established gay rights may be overturned. We are in the 21st century, a time where equal rights should be guaranteed. LGBTQ+ advocacy should not be limited to one month but should be something that is worked towards every day.
We encourage allies of the LGBTQ+ community to continue to be vocal with their support for the group. This includes spreading awareness of injustices against the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring that workplaces and schools have equitable policies, volunteering for organizations like The Trevor Project, etc. As for members of the LGBTQ+ community, we encourage you to stay true to yourself and to continue being proud of your authentic self. Color For Empowerment will always have its comment sections and Direct Messages open for talking or discussing anything.