Pride Month

photo by Scotty Ginett- taken in 2018, at the Pride kickoff event at Rochester City Hall

photo by Scotty Ginett- taken in 2018, at the Pride kickoff event at Rochester City Hall

Pride Month Is Here

Every June, we celebrate Pride Month- both in the US, and around the world. Its a month to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and its diversity. This year is particularly momentous, considering it is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

What Pride Means To Me

I’ll have come out 10 years ago, this year, on December 24th. I grew up in a conservative, Christian home, and so realizing I was gay, wasn’t an easy realization to come to. I remember praying, “God, change me, or kill me.” I had to challenge the belief system, and worldview I was raised to believe in.

The LGBTQ+ community isn’t made up of one skin color, one sexuality, or one tax bracket. Our diversity is our strength, and as we strive towards a more inclusive community, we’ll see the beauty that we are. Pride isn’t just a parade, or festival- to me it is a way of living.

Visibility

Recently, a report came out that almost half of LGBTQ+ employees fear that being out at work will hurt their careers. I’ve been out in every job I’ve held- and yes, I’ve dealt with homophobic comments. But isn’t that the burden of being visible? You have the opportunity to challenge biases, and reiterate the fact that we are here, and aren’t going anywhere. We don’t just come out for ourselves, to accept ourselves, but we come out so that future generations will have an easier path.

Campaigning While Out

As the openly gay candidate in the primary race I’m in, I bring my most authentic self to the doors I knock, the conversations I have, and the platform I put together.

My campaign volunteers were told by a voter that he would never support a gay candidate, and I was told by another voter that she would never support a progressive candidate- using the example of Governor Cuomo banning state travel to North Carolina over the anti-transgender bill that was passed.

They made a choice not to support me, but my sexuality won’t stop me from representing them.

I campaign with a record of volunteerism, and leadership, and am the only candidate in this race that has that long history of involvement. I think its important not only to have LGBTQ+ voices elected, but to have representatives elected that have a history of service. Don’t tell me that you care, show me that you care.

Allies

We’ll see corporations selling Pride merchandise, candidates for office march in their first Pride parade ever, tweet “Love is Love” with a rainbow emoji, as usual. What are you doing the rest of the year? Do you volunteer for, or donate to LGBTQ+ causes? Do you challenge transphobic language? Do you choose not to eat at fast food places that donate to anti-LGBTQ+ causes?

Allies are important. Its how we move forward the struggle for human and civil rights.

Don’t be a part time ally.

Let’s Celebrate

I wrote that to me, Pride is a way of life. It is. Being out is amazing, celebrating our diversity is beautiful, and being a more inclusive community will make us stronger. To my LGBTQ+ family, those out, and those who aren’t out yet, be you. Be Pride, Live Pride.

Happy Pride Month.