You probably have noticed the rainbow theme circulating throughout clothing and social media this month. This is because, for the entirety of June, Pride Month is advocated all throughout the country. This is a time where LGBT+ individuals are encouraged to join together to be proud of who they are. Almost all states offer parades and festivals to show their love for everyone in the LGBT+ community and many brands participate in limited edition pride apparel for the month.

However, it seems that as a result of this, controversy is sparked each year. From a personal viewpoint, I believe that many people simply do not understand the purpose of Pride Month. While I respect all people’s morals and values, I also believe in accepting anyone regardless of their personal character traits that they cannot change.

The whole purpose of pride month is not simply to give extra attention to the gay community, but to allow them a month where their safety and validity is prioritized.

The history of pride month is often disregarded, but this was a topic that I researched for multiple projects within schools. There were many historical events that acted as a catalyst for this movement. After the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a mass event of protest against the unequal treatment of homosexual people, many LGBT+ organizations began to form. A year later, pride marches began in large cities to commemorate the riots as being the first form of protest for equality.

Years later, many changes happened that were considered victories for the entire LGBT+ community: homosexuality was no longer deemed a crime or an illness, more and more people became accepted for their sexual identities and orientations, and the rainbow flag was created to commemorate LGBT+ individuals. Today, we live in a country where homosexual couples can freely marry and participate in many other acts that were seen as impossible in the past.

For the most part, June is meant to continue to bring awareness and celebrate the progress that has been made for the community as a whole.

Some may ask, why not straight pride month? From my perspective, every month is straight pride month when we truly think about it. Being heterosexual is not an attribute that causes fear on a daily basis. Heterosexual couples do not walk in fear of holding each others’ hands because they may get attacked. Heterosexual couples have never had to worry about the validity of their marriage, adopting children, or being fired at work. Yet, while progress has been made for LGBT+ Americans, these are still very real fears and experiences for most LGBT+ people. Pride month, while different than Black or Asian heritage month, is still used for the same purpose- to celebrate the beauty in being who you are. The point of pride month is to allow LGBT+ people to celebrate themselves because they have not always been accepted and that is a very different case for heterosexual people.

In our Grand Island community, there are many teens and adults who are a part of the LGBT+ community. Pride Month is an important time for most likely more people than you would expect. It is not only a time for LGBT+ people to celebrate themselves, but it is also a time where family members and friends can come together to show kindness and support for their loved ones. For those that are interested, Omaha celebrates pride month with both a parade and festival that is welcoming to all ages. This is one of the main reasons why I felt that it is important to spread the awareness and history behind pride month.

The purpose behind pride month is an extremely important idea to me. I believe that everyone should have the chance to love who they are and find support from others who also love them regardless of any differences. This is a time where people can come together to reflect on how far that the community has come. While not everyone may be pleased with Pride Month, there are many people who only have this month as a time where they feel as though they can be themselves. Pride month along with its parades act as a safe place for those who simply are not accepted anywhere else. With that being said, while it may not be celebrated by everyone, it should at least be respected by everyone. From this column, I hope to leave at least one thought with you. Even if you may disagree with this topic, it is important to be kind to everyone.

Sierra Voglewede will be a senior at Grand Island Senior High.

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