Every June, Queer superheroes from across the nation gather to celebrate their lifestyles unapologetically; this is known as Pride Month. I’ve been celebrating pride since I was a curious 18-year-old teen. Now at 39, I am proud to be part of a diverse community that is changing how we see the world today.
June is an important month for members of the LGBTQ+ community. For some, it symbolizes liberation. Many have been forced to live in the closet due to unsupportive friends and family. But when someone finds the courage to step out and live authentically, it calls for a celebration. For others, it represents the countless lives lost by those who chose to live in their truth. The LGBTQ+ community is one of the most targeted groups in the world. Picture this: in 2023, a harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed in Uganda. Same-sex acts were already illegal in the country, but the new laws have issued harsher penalties for people who actively live a queer lifestyle.
Life is a bit freer in America, but these laws exist in other countries worldwide. And despite the freeness of the United States, trans people are being killed left and right, and the number of LGBTQ+ suicides is alarmingly high. In the words of Beyoncé, America, We Got A Problem.
How did pride month begin?
NYC Pride began as an act of resistance. While other cities experienced revolts against police for their harassment, the Stonewall riot is what sparked a nationwide awakening on LGBTQ+ rights. When cops entered the Stonewall Inn and arrested patrons in June of 1969, spectators took matters into their own hands and fought back. A walk was organized the following year, and soon after, other cities joined the movement.
More than 50 years later, queer superheroes and allies gather in their boldest rainbow garb to celebrate their lives and the lives of those who have passed due to suicide and homophobia.
The Evolution of the LGBTQ+ Community
Day by day, the LGBTQ+ is evolving and encouraging the rest of the world to keep up. Creating space for people who identify as non-binary has created lots of buzz in recent years. Janelle Monae identifies as a non-binary person who uses the she/they pronouns. During the MET Gala, a reporter mistakenly misgendered her by asking what she loved most about being a Black woman. While the talented enigma uses she/her pronouns, she doesn’t identify as a woman. Monae used it as a teachable moment for the reporter, but these mistakes happen all too often because the world is still trying to understand.
We’ve always had gender-bending artists who pushed boundaries and lived authentically. Prince wore eyeliner, cropped tops, and sequins pants, yet no one questioned his masculinity. Unfortunately, artists like Lil Nas X are scrutinized for adopting similar style choices in today’s climate. The rapper is openly gay and doesn’t let the negative chatter stop his swag.
Believe it or not, 2025 will make ten years since the LGBTQ+ community received legal marriage rights. Massachusetts was the first state to recognize same-sex marriage in 2004 legally, and all 50 states followed suit in 2015. Evolution is occurring at an alarmingly slow rate, but change is coming.
To the Queer Superheroes
I dedicate this post to everyone struggling to live in their truth. It’s not easy. I came out when I was 19 years old, and my mother was not as accepting of my lifestyle as she is today. And while she didn’t take the news well, I didn’t endure half of what my community has. To those excommunicated by their families, friends, and the church, know that a community of people is willing to help and support you – this post is for you. Living in your truth takes courage, and I am proud of you.
To everyone finding their way in this ridiculous world, I also dedicate this post to you. The world will tell you to be yourself and then criticize your choices if they don’t fit into their White, Christian, cookie-cutter box. There’s so much joy in freedom. I dedicate this post to anyone who yearns to be their unique, authentic selves.
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