By: Nicole Lashomb/TRT Editor-in-Chief—
Pride. Is it really still necessary? This type of question has often surfaced during discussions around my dining room table. In liberal states—or commonwealths like Massachusetts—and particularly in cities like Boston, Provincetown and Northampton where the gay community is often found well integrated into society, one may think that Pride isn’t imperative anymore. I cannot think of a more flawed perspective.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Massachusetts alone has 6 active and documented hate groups. Of these groups, at least 2 of them are LGBT-specific, not to mention the rest which tend to generalize hatred directed toward LGBT, racial and ethnic populations. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of them such as Mass Resistance or Scott Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries. These hate groups are not concentrated in rural, under populated areas. They are in our own backyard, from the West to the East. [pullquote]As long as there is hatred in this country and people’s lives are being taken, spiritually or physically, as a result of their gender identity or sexual orientation, those rainbow flags should always be blowing in the wind on Pride Day and every other day of the year.[/pullquote]
It is undeniable that New Englanders tend to have it better sometimes—more than many other areas of the country—but Pride is not only about having it “better.” It is about eradicating homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism and all other of the many -isms that apply to our community. It is about making it impossible for hate groups to terrorize others by dismounting their physical and financial support, which currently enables them to spread their vile bigotry. It is about being visible and proud, providing hope for those who may be struggling with their own sexuality or whose family has abandoned them due to who they are. It is about educating those around us about what it means to be LGBT. It is about mentoring youth and supporting their decisions to come out and providing health care options for those who may be HIV+ or who may need other services as well. It is about being a whole, vibrant and thriving community that is united in moving forward, together. As long as there is hatred in this country and people’s lives are being taken, spiritually or physically, as a result of their gender identity or sexual orientation, those rainbow flags should always be blowing in the wind on Pride Day and every other day of the year.
*Nicole Lashomb holds an MBA from Marylhurst University & a Bachelor’s from SUNY Potsdam. Contact her directly at her TRT e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.