Good Afternoon, readers! Lens of The People is a column dedicated to the capture of the real-life scenarios and events in the local Houston area whilst also giving the thoughts and opinions of the Houston community itself its own voice to speak through.
June is the month of LGBT pride, a time of the year which many people around the world have become familiar with as of late. Beginning as a commemoration to the Stonewall Riots of 1969, pride month is exactly what it implies: A time of pride for members of the LGBT community, in which said members can freely and openly express and embrace themselves publicly, of which even now in 2019 can prove dangerous and even deadly to the LGBT community. This is a month to celebrate a community that has been historically discriminated against and ridiculed all over the world even to this day. It is with this in mind that I raise this week’s question to Houston’s own LGBT community:
What have you experienced personally as a member of the LGBT community, and why is pride month necessary to you?
“I grew up around a lot of accepting people, so I was one of the lucky few. But I had friends who have had to live with me because their families put them on the streets. That showed me how important it was to have your chosen family. The community always tries to support one another but like any group it has its own problems such as transphobia and biphobia from gays or lesbians, but overall pride month is a celebration of what makes us different. For one month at least we are visible and we are heard.”-Janae Rixner
“Okay well I came out about 2 years ago in this mental health article I did. The hardest part about it all I will say is the hatred and phobia people get from the community. That type of phobia kills and it hurts and it harms people. The fake propaganda surrounding the community is even worse. People assuming that the P in LGBTQP stands for pedophiles just because they read it on some fake Twitter article. Despite that, the love the community has for itself is amazing. There’s always division in things, but there’s always a sense of community which I feel makes this month and the pride festival/parade so important. Because even with the everyday hatred we get year-round to the hatred we get just from walking into the festival by homophobics, it still remains a chance to be free and unapologetic about who you are and love who you are completely in a care-free place full of love.”-Madeleine Brown
“Coming from a background of not feeling accepted by the White community and the Black community, it personally felt relieving to be able to make connections with people among the LGBTQ community. The community saved me from my personal grievances within my family and friends from childhood, and I was able to make connections with people with similar stories like mine. They made me feel that for once I was not alone in this world and helped me to understand that we’re all just trying to find ourselves. The LBGTQ community was able to help me reach my highest potential by always being supportive while helping me understand my right to love and be loved by anyone, and it is because of that there is no other community that I’d proudly represent and feel proud of on the same level as this one.”-Tyler McDuffy
While I am not personally a member of the LGBT community, I absolutely consider myself an ally. I believe that while the issues of their community may not impact me directly, ignoring such injustices would be the same as encouraging them. I believe that Pride Month is absolutely necessary, for the same reason I believe Black History Month to be necessary. When I think of Black History Month, I don’t think about the world celebrating my Blackness, but instead, of the Black community celebrating my Blackness, and it’s because of that support and positivity within the community itself that it becomes validation more than anything else. It’s not about society approving of who you are, but rather feeling comfortable and understood by those around you. I strongly believe that a lack of simple understanding is the greatest source of apathy from the oppressors to the oppressed. So even if I may be projecting somewhat, I feel that more than anything, people outside of the LGBT community who can’t relate should use pride month to try and understand and empathize with those members’ feelings. The feeling of dread that you may not be accepted by your parents or told you can’t marry the person you love are both things that I’m sure are incredibly devastating to have happen to someone in this country that we call “free.” If we truly put forth that effort to understand, then I am positive that we can enter a society that will one day accept these people in the same way in which heterosexuality has been accepted all this time.
This was Lens of The People, a column dedicated to giving the Houston community a voice and a platform. Stay on the lookout for more, all made possible by The Forward Times!