It’s Pride month, and no matter who you are, this lesbian mom wants you to know you’re wonderful just the way you are, right now. This goes for those of you within the LGBTQ+ community and those of you who stand with us.
I also want to say: you don’t owe anyone your story. Especially those of you struggling to feel like part of the community. I want to assure you that you don’t have to be “out” in order to be LGBTQ enough. You can celebrate however feels right and good to you as long as you don’t harm yourself or anyone else, okay?
If you are attending parades and events, make sure to hydrate and look after one another. Everyone has had a difficult last few years.
For those of you who are not in the LGBTQ+ community, I would like to take a moment to let you know I appreciate your advocacy.
I love seeing all the rainbow frames in profile pics and “love is love” yard signs. I also know we need a lot more than that right now. This is not a tirade against rainbow commerce. Right now, I have a rainbow manicure and am wearing a rainbow T-shirt from a mainstream company. I am a sucker for visibility and celebration in all its forms. I know that showing support visibly may help someone who feels alone. It is legitimate and good, so enjoy that, but know that we also need to do more than just rock the flag; this is especially true for those who are not a part of the LGBTQ community.
Pride in its truest form is about activism. Hate crimes still exist. Stigma still exists. I think it can be easy to slip into thoughts like, “You can get married now. It’s all settled!” I wish it were that simple. I really do. In so many ways, my household is just as boring and mundane as every other one in the neighborhood. We walk our daughter to school, we worry about her safety and teach her how to use her roller skates. It’s really all I want out of life: to exist and to raise my child in a simple, loving, healthy way. I’m thrilled to be legally married, but here’s how recently that right came to be: my 7-year-old was already alive when my wife and I became legally married in the state we live in—she’s so young, yet these civil rights happened in her lifetime. The relevance of this especially shines this year, when we have all become extremely aware that there is no such thing as “settled law.”
When it comes to LGBTQ rights, this year alone there have been 240 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed in 2022 so far that threaten the rights and lives of LGBTQ+ Americans. We’re not safe. We’re not secure. It’s not settled. Our kids don’t know that they will be okay, and by our kids, I mean both the LGBTQ+ children and the children of LGBTQ+ people. I know, I’m being a real bummer during a celebration, but we all know Stonewall was a riot.
So, I am here with a handy guide for how to show support in real and tangible ways that make a difference. They are incredibly simple, and some are even fun!
First of all, you wanna rock the rainbows? ME TOO. You know what’s even better? Spending that money to get amazing products in ways that actually support LGBTQ-owned businesses.
LET’S GO SHOPPING!!
You can ask your local chamber of commerce for a list of LGBTQ+ shops in your area. And online, you can find lots of fun lists of products, ranging from clothing to food to cannabis. I even started a thread on Twitter where LGBTQ+ business owners and patrons could post links. Shop around and please add your own! (And let me tell you: those Rancho Gordo beans are ALLLLL my mom friends talk about when it comes to dinner—yes, even my straight friends!)
For those who want to donate time: here’s an easy one. You can add your name to help Congress push the Equality Act by signing here. Also, the Human Rights campaign has a handy tracker where you can enter in your zip code and find out how your reps vote on LGBTQ+ legislation. Then you can contact them and if they have a great track record say something like:
“Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent who lives in your district. I’m calling today to thank you for your support of LGBTQ-affirming legislation. I am pleased that you represent my views that include protecting ALL Americans and I hope that I can continue to count on your support for these issues. “
If their track record is less than ideal you can say:
“Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent who lives in your district. I’m calling today to ask you to support LGBTQ-affirming legislation. Can I count on you to support these issues and the rights of ALL Americans in your district?”
Speaking of the Human Rights Campaign, you can donate to them here.
There are also numerous organizations doing important work that you might consider donating to financially. Elders in the LGBTQ+ community are often overlooked, but you can help provide for those who fought for our current rights by donating to SAGE, a wonderful organization that helps provide housing, meals, wellness checks and programs for aging LGBTQ+ individuals. And for our vulnerable young people, there is The Trevor Project, where your donation can help save a young LGBTQ+ life.
Additionally, Astraea helps fund programs and initiatives led by diverse communities, especially those led by and for lesbians, queer women, trans and gender-nonconforming people, intersex people, and people of color. And of course, help us keep fighting for our rights with Lambda Legal.
There are plenty more organizations to support so get out there, do your research, or just click the links I provided here! I want it to be as simple as possible for you to help make a difference. So next time you don your rainbow stripes, you can do it knowing you backed up that pride with some real action. Let’s make this June one where you can be truly proud of your input!