Happy Pride month! What’s not to like about a parade and festival? It is so fabulous watching the long procession of near naked men dancing on colorful decorated floats; seeing those that serve in public office, the military, and in law enforcement, marching side by side as one of us! Pride celebrations are festivals of great music, great food, and endless exhibitors. Yes, we do know how to throw a parade and party, party, party! But Gay Pride is not just about the party now is it?
I’ve seen so much progress for the gay community in my lifetime. I see our youth today, so young and so open about their sexuality and it makes me smile. For the first time in history, we have an openly gay man, Pete Buttigieg (not counting Abraham Lincoln!) making a serious bid for the White House. But none of that just happened. We fought for all of it!
Unfortunately, the fight is long from over. Just in the last two years, the United States has taken tremendous steps backwards in leveling equality for the LGBTQ community. We have seen the rights of our Trans brothers and sisters be reduced to almost no rights at all, especially those in the military defending our country. The anti-LGBTQ evangelical leaders and the GOP are becoming more brazen, more despicable and more venomous in their mission to diminish our rights to health care, adoptions, and marriage equality. Leaders are quietly planning and plotting out years into the future, placing hostile judges on the courts that will go directly to removing our rights before we could ever even see it coming.
Our brothers and sisters in other countries overseas are being thrown from the tops of buildings simply because they are gay. There are still places in the world where LGBTQ people are sentenced to death, simply for loving someone of the same sex.
We are not safe, not safe at all. In this day and age, we, as a community, have to be more organized, more prepared than ever before. Thankfully, we have some big heavy hitters out there fighting for us, and millions of individuals in small towns and communities fighting for equality.
Support from our straight brothers and sisters continues to get stronger and stronger, and God knows we couldn’t do it without them. But is all of that enough?
The Pink Dollar is one of the most powerful tools we have. Collectively, how we spend our money gives us tremendous leverage to advance political advocacy and global human rights. Money talks and when billions of Pink Dollars are in play, you can bet people are listening. Whether it’s giving to your local LGBTQ organization or media source, or to a larger association, it all makes a significant difference.
Now, I know all too well that we are not all as fortunate as others in our ability to donate, but you can still affect change by donating your time and talent to the cause, and/or at the ballot box. There are dozens of local organizations and candidates that are advocating for us to ensure our rights are protected, not just today, but in the future.
Whether it’s your time, talent or treasures, if you are unsure where to start, one of the best places in the world to do some research is at a Pride parade or festival. You will find a vast array of people and organizations to choose from.