The past few weeks, my friend and fellow photog, Rachel, got together to do a passion project for Pride Month. We opened up 10-minute sessions to anyone who wanted to come in and show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. We had all kinds of couples, individuals, families, and friends show up. It was so much fun getting to hear everyone’s story and why they celebrate Pride Month.
Pride Month is about the celebration and recognition of those that have fought for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community…but it’s much deeper than one month every year. For a community that has been fighting and advocating for civil rights for decades, it takes ongoing support and advocacy.
As I was preparing to put together this blog post, I read a great excerpt from a daily e-newsletter I subscribe to called The Skimm that I thought was important to share if you’ve made it this far.
“70% of Americans support same-sex marriage. And 5.6% of American adults identify as LGBT. The country could be seeing the most LGBTQ+ inclusive admin in US history, including the first openly transgender official confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Rachel Levine. By one count, 981 elected officials nationwide are members of the LGBTQ+ community. This week, SCOTUS handed the LGBTQ+ community a win. We’re seeing an openly transgender woman compete at the Miss USA pageant. Starting tomorrow, Wisconsin will have gender-neutral options for parents on birth certificates. New York will let people use a non-binary sex designation on their state driver’s licenses. And California’s sending a message to states with anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
It is. But progress hasn’t been linear. 2021 broke records for the most anti-trans bills introduced (over 100) – some of which have become law. Arkansas and Tennessee banned gender-affirming treatments for trans youth. Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida banned trans athletes from competing in female sports teams at public schools. SCOTUS sided with a Catholic adoption agency that wouldn’t work with same-sex foster parents. Sexually active gay and bisexual men face restrictions to donate blood in the US. This year is on track to be the deadliest year for trans people yet – especially for Black transwomen. And LGBTQ+ activists are calling out companies for using Pride Month as a front for their support of the LGBTQ+ community when their internal policies say otherwise – aka rainbow-washing.”
What can you do?
You can: Call your elected officials and encourage them to take action on LGBTQ+ rights bills. Talk to your HR department and ask what they’re doing to protect LGBTQ+ employees. Donate to orgs like The Trevor Project, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Volunteer at local LGBTQ+ community centers. Get educated on queer stigma. And dedicate yourself to being an ally and creating an inclusive atmosphere (like sharing your gender pronouns).
Thank you to everyone who participated in this project. I’m so glad I got to meet you all!