June is Pride Month, a whole month dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community.
For those unsure of what that long acronym stands for, it is an umbrella term that covers members of the queer community; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual, and other orientations people may identify with. I understand this is a lot for some people. I also understand a topic like this may offend or upset some readers.
Please understand, my intention here is to educate. No judgments are being made, simply my own personal observations and feelings regarding Pride Month and the importance behind it.
There are a number of months out of the year the United States dedicates to varying communities and people. Particularly, communities and people who have been discriminated against in our country. Women, Native Americans, African Americans, Pacific Asian Americans; it shouldn’t be such a shock our queer community receives the same reaction, considering the discrimination they face.
I have unofficially come out as a bisexual cis-woman in the last year or so. Printing it here, I suppose, makes it very official. Bisexual refers to my attraction to any gender. Cis-woman refers to my gender identity, which corresponds to the sex I was assigned at birth. I realize this all sounds complicated and strange to those unfamiliar with the concepts, but that’s why I am writing this piece.
So, why pride? Why should you care about a group of people who may not have any direct connection to you? Quite simply, it’s called being empathetic. It’s being a fellow human being. In this country, no one is exactly the same. It’s long been our touting point, the Great American Melting Pot. Does that not still stand? Are we not a country built by immigrants? What does it mean to be a descendant of the United States?
I suppose every citizen has a different answer, and their answers would all be true. That’s the wonderful, amazing thing about living in this country. Our opinions, our ideals are all worthy of being identified.
Or, so we claim.
It’s no secret our country is at war with itself, on the social scale. Hate and prejudice has always been present, but in the last couple years, we have imploded on ourselves. We rage against the very thing our country stands for: freedom, for all. Does this mean we are free to discriminate, to attack each other because of who someone loves, how someone looks?
Pride Month allows the queer community a chance to be free, in every sense of the word. We celebrate our diversity with love, colors, smiles and most importantly, with acceptance. Pride isn’t about showing off our “gayness” or trying to impress our “queer agenda” on the youth. It’s about letting the world know we are here, we exist and love, just as anyone else does. It’s a time of embracing our true selves, because what kind of life would anyone lead if they weren’t true to themselves?
No one should be afraid of themselves. And yet, here we are. The queer community, we aren’t asking people to change for us, especially during Pride Month. At the very least, we ask for tolerance. We aren’t going away, we’ve always been here, and we are people just like you. Open your minds, and open your hearts. Because someone is different from you, doesn’t mean they are different. People are people. Love is love.
If you have more questions or are just curious, visit https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ for more information regarding the LGBTQIA+ community. Hate has no place here, not in this country full of different, beautiful, amazing colors.
- Catie Calderon, a La Salle-Peru native, is a creative writing graduate of Knox College who is hoping to pursue her master’s in social work for the fall of 2023. She resides in Peru with her fiancé, Will, their dog Oakley, and cat Loaf.