Happy Pride everyone! This weekend, the LGBTQ community will celebrate pride all over the country including my own city in MInnesota. Every year during Pride month, we take the time to fight the trolls that yell and whine about why they don't get a "Straight Pride Month" or a "Straight Pride Parade." Because no one was discriminated against for the sole reason of being straight. No one was murdered for the sole reason of being straight. No one was kicked out of their family and home for being straight. You know how when you were a kid you'd say to your parents "Why isn't there a Kids Day if there is a Mother's Day?" It's similar to this. Everyday is a straight pride because straight people can walk down the street holding hands and not get looks. Straight people can live their life and never have the worry of "Am I going to get fired for being straight?" or "is my insurance company not going to help me find the mental health I need?" These are little things to many but huge fears that many, many, many queer people have every. single. day.
Pride is about overcoming the inequality, injustice, and hate that the gay community has been subjected to for centuries. It's about celebrating the progress we've made and remembering those who came before us. Remembering those who paved the way and threw that first stone (trans women of color by the way, that'll be another post).
I wanted to take the time to address basic things that non-queer people don't have to think about that queer people spend hours thinking about. Marriage Equality officially became the law of the land in June of 2015 when all states had to license and recognize marriage between same-sex couples as a result of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. This was a huge victory for us and while the queer community has come a long way but we still have so much work to do.
While it is legal for all same-sex couples to adopt in all 50 states, there are still discriminatory laws that are being upheld in a variety of states. Just last month, the Governor of Oklahoma and Kansas signed laws that allowed state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to follow their religious beliefs in order to discrimanate against LBGT people looking to foster or adopt children. These laws also take place in Alabama, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia.
A study from 2007 says that over two million LGBTQ couples are looking to adopt. This was more than 10 years ago and since then marriage equality has become federal law we can only imagine the number of couples looking to adopt has doubled or possibly even tripled.
Where do I even begin? The trans community has been under fire more and more within the last recent years with countless of transgender people being murdered especially trans women of color. Currently there are no federal laws designating transgender as a protected class, or specifically requiring equal treatment of transgender people. Not to mention there are a lot of other issues that stem from the fact that there is a lack of legal protection for trans people. This also leads to poverty, lack of employment and barriers to basic healthcare.
Transgender people have a higher chance of experiencing threats, police violence, or sexual assault than cis-gender individuals (gay or straight). Another big problem with this country is the extreme lack of healthcare provided to Transgender people. Currently only 13 states and DC bans both insurance exclusions for transgender healthcare and provide transgender inclusive health benefits for state employees. 13 out of 50? We can do better. We need to do better. We should be doing better. The Transgender community has a right to be seen. They have a right to be heard. They have the right to live. For more information on educating yourself in the transgender community, visit
Converstion Therapy for LGBTQ Minors
This is probably one of the most despicable things in this country still for LGBTQ youth. I have always been a huge advocate for this to be banned nation wide because it effects minors. I had a very positive coming out. I had a family and group of friends that supported me however some are not that lucky. Conversation therapy is the "scientific" (yes quotes) practice of trying to change an individuals sexual orientation to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions. The biggest thing is that this awful practice is forced upon minors usually by parents who don't accept their children for who they are.
This act also has been discredited and rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades. This is not only a falsely claimed practice but it is also dangerous as it's usually kids that are forced to go through it. Kids are vulnerable enough as they grow up to find a place in this world however LGBTQ kids are even more vulnerable and this often leads to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness and suicide. Currently this is only illegal in 14 states including New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Maryland and, most recently as of June 8, New Hampshire. For more information on the dangers of conversation therapy for LGBTQ minors, click here.
Discrimination in the work place
Imagine going to work after a year of working and finding out you were fired. You come in and your things are packed along with a security escort. The underlying reason? Because you're gay. Did you know that there are no federal laws protecting the rights of employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identify in the United States? Currently only 21 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That's baffling to me.
A recent study said that nearly three quarters of non-LGBTQ employees believe it's "unprofessional" to discuss sexual orientation or gender identify in the workplace. Many people it's a taboo topic and a political topic so therefore shouldn't be discussed. My life and the person I love is not something you can hide. It is not a taboo topic. You get to talk about your husband and bratty kids all the time Carol, why can't I?
The Fight is just beginning - But now it's time to celebrate
So as you can see, the LGBTQ community is not equal and this is barely even the tip of the ice berg. I could ramble on and on about the continuous inequalities queer people have against healthcare providers, LGBTQ youth homelessness, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS, schools and housing. We do not have the same rights as straight people. So because of this, we take one month, yes ONE month out of the year to celebrate how far we have come. To celebrate the fact that more and more people are coming out of the closet and living their true authentic selves. I remember my first pride. My first pride was magical and eye opening to see so many queer people in one space. No matter the size of their body, the length of their life or the color of their skin...we were all in this together. And now whenever I go to pride, I see myself. I see the younger queer boys and girls in wonder as they see thousands of people just like them who have gone through the same situations and experiences as them.
So I'm going to celebrate this weekend. I'm going to drink my vodka soda and dance to Whitney Houston. I'm going to walk down the street with my fellow queer friends and smile at everyone I see. During these last few days of pride, I challenge you to reach out to someone you know who is apart of the queer community. Let them know that they are valued. That you respect them. That you love them. Cause at the end of the day that's what we all want; love, acceptance and the same fucking rights as everyone else in this country.
Do you want to help fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ community? Click one of the two buttons that will take you directly to the Human Rights Campaign Donation page and OutFront Minnesota.