This Pride Month ‘we are still looking for spaces that are safe and kind’

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.

Their continued struggle for equal rights, safety and fair treatment was underscored this year when the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned that foreign terrorist organizations may target gatherings associated with upcoming Pride Month festivities.

“In today’s political climate, LGBTQ+ people are always aware of threats to our safety, so I think it makes us more vigilant as far as paying attention to our surroundings,” said Rick Flynn, executive director of the Greater Dayton LGBT Center. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the world we’re in today.”

Below, hear from several contributors discuss the importance of Pride Month and the need for our communities to continue to advocate for their rights.

For Pride, make allyship with the LGBTQ+ community a priority

“While there is celebration, you must know that the fight for our rights to exist is still prevalent today. Stonewall might have had its riots in 1969, and the parades may have started throughout the 1970s, but still, to this day, the work to live without being dismissed continues. We are still going to statehouses asking to not be criminalized for existing. You might have heard us speaking at schools, libraries, or board meetings recently, where people in the Miami Valley had the energy to get up and speak against other community members for four hours at a time. It’s a painful reminder that not every community is fully kind. If you ever see someone protesting pride, just remember they had a choice to be there. For people who oppose our existence, they are committed to showing up, just to tell us they don’t want us to exist.”

- Read more from contributor Michael Knote

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

We face racism in queer spaces and homophobia in Black spaces

“We are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS due to systemic barriers to quality healthcare. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety are prevalent as we navigate a hostile world. Economic inequality adds another layer of challenge, with higher unemployment rates and increased poverty. Discrimination follows us into the workplace, with harassment and unequal opportunities for advancement. Black trans sisters face even harsher economic injustices, including unemployment and homelessness. Violence is a constant threat, especially for Black trans women who are targeted at alarming rates. Hate crimes, police brutality, and domestic violence are daily realities. The intersection of racism and transphobia makes Black trans women particularly vulnerable, often with fatal consequences. Society has to stop ignoring this crisis.”

- Read more from contributor Dr. Chrisondra Goodwine



Finding commonalities, celebrating differences through film

“I watch a lot of movies (at The Toronto International Film Fest, I screen 35 or more in just 9 days), and I understand how certain films can provide invaluable catharsis (last year’s All of Us Strangers is a recent title that comes to mind). Showcasing films that provide visibility and inclusion to underrepresented groups is a cornerstone of THE NEON’s mission, and we’re proud that we can bring a film that will resonate with many people in our community. Finding commonalities while embracing and celebrating differences is what Pride is all about.”

- Read more from contributor Jonathan McNeal

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