There is no denying that systems force us to be in boxes. We have to identify our race, national origin, language spoken, gender identity, and sexual orientation every time we go to see a doctor or apply for a new job. This even happens when we purchase makeup: we may purchase it based off of what socioeconomic class we belong to.
These categories are not inherently a bad thing, until belonging to one specific group becomes the reason that individuals do not have access to services or resources to meet their needs. Or if they do not have the same status and contribution in their communities.
Identifying as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or any other non-heterosexual orientation) has been a longstanding box checked that is equal to less status, less resources, and less legal protection. As a young queer woman, I have not experienced as much of this as my aging counterparts have but I too feel the impacts of being “othered” or made to feel different.
June is pride month and we know and believe that to be anything other than what is considered typical is beautiful.
Historically individuals who identify outwardly as LGBTQ+ have been subject to harassment, abuse, and persecution. People were literally jailed for behavior considered “homosexual”. People were denied access to bars, restaurants, shopping, employment, and other resources. For something they could not control about themselves.
In 1969 the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City really put the gay rights movement on the map. People were angry and fed up- as they should have been.
Fast-forward several decades and we just recently gained the right to marry and legally adopt children in all of the states. In fact, my first election I was able to vote for gay marriage to be passed in Washington State. I will never forget that moment. But looking back, 7 years later as I prepare to marry the love of my life, a woman, I wonder why it has taken so long.
There is nothing more beautiful and exhilarating than being your most authentic and vulnerable self and having that be seen. Every day I walk out of my front door into a world that may not completely accept me for who I love, but into a world that is slowly getting there.
We have an entire month dedicated to advocacy and attention for queer people. People come together in their unique pride beauty with rainbows and drag queens and glitter. They celebrate being exactly who they are.
For anyone reading this who is afraid to come out, to be different or afraid to be in one of those checkboxes, know this: you are beautiful. You are seen. You are loved for exactly who you are. Not just in the month of June, but every day.
I would have never imagined as a young person who was terrified of what it meant to be attracted to her friends at summer camp that I would be here, writing this today. Yet, here I am. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am queer.
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