June Celebrates LGBTQ Pride
June 24, 2013

June Celebrates LGBTQ Pride

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Pride Month, according to the Library of Congress website. States, Cities, and towns across the country are celebrating with parades, festivals, plays, movies, and other events and activities to celebrate one of the country’s more controversial minority groups, especially in light of the upcoming rulings on the two gay marriage Supreme Court cases. I am writing this blog on Saturday, June 22, 2013, and as of now, people can only speculate about what may come of these two cases.

It seems rather appropriate that rulings on the future of gay marriage will likely come down during the month that celebrates the lives, culture, and loves of gay people all across the country.

The Library of Congress explains the history of LGBTQ Month:

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBT Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”

I had the pleasure of attending one event while I was in Sacramento, California, visiting an old friend. We attended a gay pride parade and festival where I saw people of all walks — gay and straight, single and committed, young and old, men and women — gathered for festivities that both celebrate and accept all people. I have been to gay pride events before, but never in California. It was nice to see that all over the country the festivities have the same rigor and enthusiasm.

The whole purpose of commemorative month activities is not just to celebrate but also to build awareness. LGBTQ Pride Month is no different. Though discrimination against homosexuals lessens every year, many gay and lesbian individuals still struggle to find comfort. Recently, I wrote about NASA’s outreach to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and Questioning community, and LGBTQ Pride Month is another tendril to help bring awareness about the struggles of many Americans, young and old alike. Plus, it further celebrates love and life.

LGBTQ Pride Month is also about understanding. I may not be gay, but I certainly do not judge others because they are. I understand that we each have to find our own happiness, love, and peace, and it matters not how, where, or in whom we find those. Life is far too short, but LGBTQ Pride Month celebrates life and love.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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