June is more than Pride Month for LGBTQIA community

14th Jun 2021

June is Pride Month.

Rainbow flags everywhere.

But in recent years the color band of awareness and self-identification have evolved and become more precise, if not more varied, beyond the now-familiar acronym LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender).

Today it’s not uncommon to see LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and/or Ally). That’s a lot of letters in the alphabet soup of life, and still more may be added.

For a better understanding, the LGBTQIA Resource Center at UC Davis offers a glossary of terms and definitions that “are always evolving and changing and often mean different things to different people.” Ultimately is up to an individual to identify themselves, not someone else.

As noted and quoted on the UC Davis website by American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, (1934-1992), a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”: “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

We are who we say we are, not someone else’s staid and stagnant idea of how every individual should fit into the confines of somebody else’s distorted projection based on fear, bigotry, dogma, conformity, conventionality – the twisted list goes on.

Unfortunately, and so do the slurs. We know that words can harm, especially vulnerable youth.

What are we teaching our youth other than to hate or even to hate themselves?

Suicide already is the second-learning cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24, and LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth, according to the Trevor Project, a national crisis intervention and suicide prevention center (1-866-488-7386).

LGBTQ youth have a 120% higher risk for homelessness, according to a study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

Just as important, what are we NOT teaching our youth?

In Arizona, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1456, one of the strictest sex education laws in the nation, especially when pertaining to gender identity, sexual orientation, and HIV/AIDS – omissions that only would further contribute to hatred and self-hated as lies flourish. To his credit, Governor Doug Ducey vetoed the bill.

Meanwhile, Arizona HB 2035 would require parents to opt-in their children for sex education. It also would require parental permission for any course presentations or materials outside of a formal sex ed class that may involve sexuality – such as a history class teaching about Harvey Milk, the openly gay supervisor elected in San Francisco who was assassinated in 1978, or the historic presidential campaign of former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was appointed Secretary of Transportation in 2021.

Arizona state Senator Tony Navarrete and state Senator Christine Marsh, both teachers, explained the impact on a recent segment of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – a comical bit, if it weren’t so true and tragic. CPLC Action Fund opposes the legislation to muffle teachers and squelch education because when it comes to gay rights, ignorance is not only bliss, it is a highly effective weapon against tolerance, understanding and enlightenment.

June is Pride Month, celebrating the greater freedoms and acceptance for our friends, our families, our coworkers, our neighbors, ourselves. But we also know that with every advancement of human rights and social justice, new and reinforced barriers are erected by those unwilling to accept the dynamic and actual world challenging their imagined and narrow world.

But every day, a new flag stakes out new territory. There are perhaps 30 different Pride flags, each with their own distinct meaning and history.

We can only hope someday, everyone will accept love over hate and come to appreciate the rainbow flags proudly being flown in June. Until that day, CPLC Action Fund will continue to oppose legislation, hate speech and acts of intimidation against those of the LGBTQIA community.

So, feel free to wave whichever flag you choose – except the white flag of surrender, of course. The world is too colorful of a place.

Joseph Garcia

Executive Director

CPLC Action Fund

More Updates