Annually June is celebrated as LGBT Pride Month. Gay pride or LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward LGBT community to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.
LGBT Pride Month was established to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City. In June of 1969, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn staged an uprising to resist the police harassment and persecution to which LGBT Americans were commonly subjected. This uprising marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBT Americans. Today, LGBT Pride Month celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and these events attract millions of participants around the world.
In my life time, I’ve experienced and participated in many movements that support all walks of life. From social status, religion, gender identity and prejudice. I’d like to share a personal story that helped shape who I am proud to be today.
Thirty-one years ago, on May 25th, 1986, millions of Americans joined hands to form a semi-perfect sea-to-sea human chain from New York to L.A. that lifted spirits, erased divisions and raised money for poverty and homelessness. Hands Across America was a benefit event in which millions of people held hands in a human chain for fifteen minutes along a path across the United States.
I remember driving with my mother and sister out to a freeway somewhere in Arizona to participate in this historic event. As a six-year-old, the significance of this day did not develop in my young, innocent mind. I was simply excited to be physically connected to people that were so far, far away. Take note, this was long before the internet was main stream. My view of the world was mostly limited to my imagination.
My sister was less enthused, mostly because she was spending her Memorial Day holiday standing out in the blazing sun. However, as my mother looked for a place to park and we saw the line of people forming, my sister and I both sat surprised with awe and enthusiasm.
Running over the freeway to get in line with all the other amazing people was very invigorating. Here we were, standing on the side of the freeway, holding hands with complete strangers for a cause greater than we could comprehend. When I think about that day and I think of all the diversity we still have in our society, I am proud to have been a part of Hands Across America.
Whether you embrace National Pride Month or not, it’s clear that the equality revolution is not going anywhere. In today’s world, there are so many beautiful people living their authentic lives through a labyrinth of challenges. Each and every one of us has our own struggles and differences.
People often say, “I can’t stand this,” “This isn’t fair,” “This can’t be true,” and “This shouldn’t be this way.” It’s almost as if we think refusing to accept the truth will keep it from being true or that accepting means agreeing. Accepting doesn’t mean agreeing. Radical acceptance is about accepting of life on life’s terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life, just as it is.
I urge us all to remember that at one point in our lives all prejudices, judgement and discrimination were unknown to us. However, brief it may have been, we are born innocent and beaming with love.