June 2021 is Pride Month for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. This year’s official theme is “The fight continues..”
Those who are heterosexual and cisgender (a shorthand way of saying you identify as, or know that you were created to be, the same gender you were assigned at birth), can show support by being allies to those who are LGBTQ. Here are just a few ways to show your support:
Recognize that in some parts of the world, and even in many communities in their own country, our LGBTQ friends and family members do not get to take their safety for granted as often as we do.
The first paragraph past the introduction of this article was intended to be a fun, lighthearted “here are some businesses you can support, since they support gay rights” list. When a search was performed for travel companies, the first results that came up were not a list of airlines with the most LGBTQ employees or extensive histories of donating to gay rights groups. The first results were links to gay owned travel companies, followed immediately by pages offering safety information for LGBTQ people who may wish to travel.
The travel website https://www.asherfergusson.com, offers a list of the 150 worst…and safest countries for LGBTQ people to visit. Published in 2021, the article warns against travel to Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Myanmar, and Barbados among others.
In the United States, nbc news was reporting that one in five hate crimes were anti-LGBTQ attacks as recently as 2018.
LGBTQ rights may have taken great strides in recent years, and society may have grown increasingly inclusive, but things are not completely equal yet.
Educate yourself on current threats to LGBTQ rights and take action when you can.
Another way to join the continuing fight is to keep aware of threats to LGBTQ rights throughout the country. The LGBTQ rights group The Human Rights Campaign offers a color coded map of the United States detailing which states have signed anti-LGBTQ bills into law, and which have introduced anti-LGBTQ bills. According to the map on June 2, 2021, threats to LGBTQ rights exist in forty-one states. Keep up to date and begin your research here: https://www.hrc.org/resources/state-maps/anti-lgbtq-bills-in-2021
When something comes up in your state, city, or county, take action. Attend meetings, marches, and information sessions. Vote for the bills and the candidates that support LGBTQ rights.
Respect individual comfort levels when curious about intimate details
Curiosity about people who differ from us in any way is normal and healthy. There is nothing wrong with wondering about things like surgeries and hormone therapies for transgender men and women, or how the private life of someone of a different orientation than you might unfold. But remember that just because someone is “out” about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and/or transgender, that does not mean the person cares to divulge details about their medical history or intimate relationships.
We cisgender people are open about our gender identities. We present ourselves as we feel appropriate for our gender, refer to ourselves with the appropriate pronouns, and openly use bathrooms and other public spaces assigned to our gender. And heterosexual people never have to hide it that we’re attracted to members of the opposite sex. Yet our attitudes toward discussing body parts, intimate acts, and our medical history and needs varies from the person who will tell you all of that as casually as they’ll tell you if they prefer coffee or tea, to the person who keeps all of that strictly to themselves, and everywhere in between. Those in the LGBTQ community are no different. If you truly must know something, do some independent research.
Don’t engage in…or tolerate…snowflake behavior from the left or the right
Your LGBTQ family members and friends need you to understand that they may not feel…or be…safe going into neighborhoods where homophobic attacks have recently taken place, vote for candidates who will protect their rights, and respect their individuality when it comes to learning more about their lives. They don’t need you to scream at every other straight person who chuckled at a joke that played off a silly gay stereotype, or lecture everyone who purchases a Pride themed item that other peoples’ sexuality is not a marketing tool.
Demanding that all LGBTQ people adhere to the latest form of politically correct speech and behavior to avoid “participating in others’ oppression” is also unsupportive and unhelpful….to the LGBTQ individual and to everyone else.
This does not mean you should tolerate or ignore homophobia or transphobia. Just make sure to fight against policies and behaviors that truly impact others’ well-being rather than appointing yourself thought or speech police for everyone else.
The question “When’s my pride month?” is childish and self-centered. LGBTQ Pride month stems from the Stonewall riots, a time when patrons at a gay bar fought back against regular police raids on gay bars. This was just the last straw in a pattern of police and other attacks on people simply for being of a different orientation than the majority or being transgender. Instead of whining that you don’t have a pride month for being heterosexual and cisgender, try being thankful you don’t need one..…and thinking about those who do instead of yourself.
If you are a member of a group who experienced prejudice and discrimination for some other reason, you probably do have a pride movement. If you don’t, and it upsets you, start one. You can do all that and still allow your LGBTQ friends and family members to have their Pride month.
Join in the celebrations for Pride 2021
As of the writing of this article, on June 2, 2021, there have not been any Pride 2021 parades publicized for Utica. But for those who can travel to the city, Pride will be returning to Manhattan this month. Visit the official website at https://www.nycpride.org/events to keep up to date on the parade and other Pride month events. Those who cannot make it into the city may want to consider a small purchase or donation.
You may also want to attend a smaller local event. Wisk Baking Company (formerly Bite Bakery) has announced a drag Pride Brunch, scheduled for June 27,2021. Tickets are $40 per person and include a full breakfast and unlimited beverages. Visit them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wiskbakingcompanyutica for details and updates.
Wisk Bakery is also selling rainbow cake slices in honor of Pride month.
Artist Cafe Utica would like to wish all of our readers in the LGBTQ community a Happy Pride 2021. We stand with you this month and always.