In today’s times, there are Pride parades, marches, and festivals in most all states in June, and throughout the year. Since 2013, the Chicago Pride Festivals have drawn more than one million people, and the size of all festivities grow in numbers by the thousands every year, with each event. The country has come a long way since the stigmatization from the 1970s, and these festivals continue to give a voice to the LGBTQ+ community.
Beginning in 2009 through 2016, then President Obama declared June as LGBTQ+ Pride month. Today, those LGBTQ+ humans can get married and legally adopt children in all of our fifty states. And while these points are positive and progressive, there is still a long way to go. For the LGBTQ+ community, financial and living aspects are still in question in certain areas. In twenty-eight states, one can still be fired for simply being LGBTQ+. The current Trump administration has proven over and over that it does not want to take LGBTQ+ rights into consideration, and abhorrently denies trans humans their rights.
Lessons we have Learned Today
The mere fact that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights has been going on for centuries and most likely will continue can feel so overwhelming, especially to those LGBTQ+ humans living the life. No one can fix all of the issues at once, but there are lessons that can be learned each and every day from the past, to help better guide and direct our future.
Here are some of the important lessons:
- Tell your story.
- By creating more awareness around the injustices of today, this helps to help others better understand the truth behind the injustice and judgment that continues to occur. As with the Stonewall riots, and those in more recent times, these have proven that increased awareness does indeed help and causes a mobilizing effect. When this awareness is finally accepted by others at an emotional level, this leads to effective action. One of the best ways to create that emotional level of acceptance is through personal stories of real-life cause and effect.
- As many have pointed out during the most recent protests, once someone realizes that their family or close friend is personally dealing with these issues, they tend to open their ears and hearts a little more to the truths being spoken. This is why sharing your story is so vital to the cause! Remember that telling your story does not mean that it can only be someone in the LGBTQ+ community. This means that those who support the community also need to use their voices when they hear anyone being disrespected, questioned, or when someone begins to speak hate. Silence is violence!
- Keep the focus on you.
- While we cannot control everything happening in the world, it is easy to get discouraged about how our government and political bodies are handling the LGBTQ+ movement. It can be hard looking past a President who tends to fan the flames, rather than help to squelch them, but do not get stuck in those feelings. In moments like this, turn the focus back to yourself, what you stand for, and what you can do to help.
- These three commitments can help you to find the light once more:
- Increase awareness of the inequity through the various platforms you participate on and in.
- Provide as much information and education as possible to help.
- Help connect people to resources that can help them through difficult times like these.
- By returning the focus to yourself and those you can help, you are letting others see the path to take. There are also other actions you can take that can directly benefits and help your LGBTQ+ community. They are:
- Speaking up about this issue in your personal social circles
- Calling legislators and expressing your concern
- Practicing self-care
- Asking those around you how you can support them
- Educating yourself on the best things to do right now, which often includes listening
Everyone’s efforts will look different in times of chaos and fighting for equality. No one should be judging another about how they choose to help, protest, or draw attention to the issues. Remember to take one day at a time and remain positive whenever you can.
- Take one day at a time.
- This mantra, “Take one day at a time,” is very important, as the only day we are given is today. If you spend too much time worrying about the enormous issues and problems the LGBTQ+ community is facing, you will become overwhelmed and drained. We must often re-center ourselves and focus once more on the things we can control and help with.
- These questions could help you to re-center and re-focus:
- What can I do to help myself or others today?
- How can I be of service to others?
- What is the next right step?
While it may feel incredibly difficult to be positive during these trying times, by keeping our feet and minds moving forward in a progressive way, we can continue to change the imbedded thinking in this country and ensure that all humans have the SAME EQUAL rights.