by Angie Harvey

June is pride month and you’ll likely see more rainbows than usual.  Michael Kors, Victoria Secret and yes even elected officials and diplomats will acknowledged the month.  Pride Month is the celebration of LGBTQI individuals and the LGBTQI Movement and History.  The Movement actually started much like every other movement in this country; the blatant discrimination of a group of people by another group of people who happen not to believe in equality and equity.  I know I just ruffled some feathers with that statement.  Let’s GROW deeper!!

On June 28, 1969 the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village in New York City was surrounded by police arrived to arrest those that were breaking the law; men wearing drag and women with less than three pieces of “feminine clothing.”   Yes, those were crimes punishable by law in 1969.  When the police arrived the 200+ patrons resisted, then rioted thus launching the beginning of the LGBT Movement. 

I could remove the letters LGBT and replace them with blacks or women and the blatant suppression and hatred would be the same in this country.  Although the fight for equality and equity continues on all fronts the word pride has become exclusive to the LGBTQI movement. Pride by definition means inordinate self-esteem, a reasonable or justifiable self-respect, a showy or impressive group and the quality or state of being proud.  

Unfortunately, the internal fight is as challenging for some as the external one.  Pride isn’t something that every LGBTQI person has but it is something that is encouraged.  Much like African American history month gives way to external displays of pride in the African American community and the same holds true for Women’s history month.  Pride, in my opinion is what every individual should have for any trait, characteristic or quality that doesn’t cause harm or isn’t illegal that describes who we along with our race, culture, ethnicity.   

Pride is the display of a deeper love (in my Aretha Franklin voice) as it is by definition an elevate self-esteem, self-respect and being proud of self. Although there is and will likely always be folks who believe that certain groups should not have pride this month I want to encourage us all to exude a greater sense of pride.  The task isn’t an easy one given that no matter who displays it or for what reason there will always be someone who believes it’s not warranted.

During this month I would love to see all of us stretch!!  Let’s stretch our understanding.  Stretch our capacity for acceptance.  Stretch our ability to be inclusive.  Stretch our tolerance for difference. Stretch our knowledge.  Stretch our vision.  Stretch our thoughts.  Stretch our beliefs. Stretch our desire to learn and GROW.   This is one way for us to move from a place  of needing a designated month to be celebrated and supported for being who we are.  To date, I don’t know of anyone who has had to suffer simply because someone else was choosing to take pride in being.  We should all have pride: a deeper love!

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