ANOTHER VIEW Happy Pride Month
Welcome to Pride Month!
The LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated every June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.
“The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States,” according to a Library of Congress article on Pride Month.
According to history.com, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, sparking a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents. This led to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement in the area.
LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer.
This rich community of people band together and take the time to celebrate and recognize the impact LGBTQ individuals have had in local, national and international history.
We’ve come a long way from the time of the Stonewall Riots, but LGBTQ people are still facing discrimination in their everyday life. Pride Month allows them to let loose and enjoy being who they are with a supportive and loving community.
Pride is personally one of my favorite times of the year. I identify as an ally with many friends and family members in the LGBTQ community. Every event I go to is filled with so much love and happiness. I feel like I might burst.
To get a different perspective on Pride, I spoke with my favorite member of the LGBTQ community - my brother Kev.
He is a gay man living in Philadelphia. He said he likes to celebrate Pride “because it is a celebration of people and their differences.
“Pride allows me to learn about people I may have never known with celebrating, to create a connection,” he added.
He noted it allows people to share their vulnerabilities with others as an outward show of appreciation, acceptance and togetherness.
He said Pride is “as human as a holiday can be.”
I’ve attended a number of Pride events in my life. Not once have I ever been made to feel like I don’t belong or like the “other” being a heterosexual woman attending these events. I am treated as a human being worthy of love, support and respect.
I asked Kev what Pride means to him.
“Pride indicates a shift in perspective from an outdated othering of people based upon generic social factors - from what is acceptable to what is accepting,” he said. “Pride indicates being proud of challenges I have overcome from differences of opinion from adult and leaders and living such an open way to allow others to open up to their true identity.”
LGBTQ people have faced so much discrimination in their lives and often have to hide their true selves to “fit into” what society deems appropriate. These events allow people to shed their outer layer and to be unapologetically themselves.
Pride Month usually encompasses a host of events including parades, parties, workshops, concerts and more. There are often memorials to recognize the members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
“I celebrate Pride by spending time with my siblings and closest friends, in an effort to make friends with every clap, cheer, laugh and beer,” Kev said. “I remind myself of my good fortune by appreciating loved ones and assuring everyone has a memorable day, as they are worth every good memory.”
The 50th anniversary of Pride traditions was June 2020. According to the Library of Congress article, the first Pride march in New York City was held June 28, 1970, one year after the Stonewall Uprising. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic kept a large celebration from happening.
The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is located at 522 West Maple St., Allentown. The center is focused on serving the LGBTQ community of the Greater Lehigh Valley.w
According to the Bradbury-Sullivan Center website, they produce arts and culture programs, develop health programs and offer after-school programs for the LGBTQ+ community.
“We ensure that critical supportive services of our community are met,” the website says. “We advocate for our community.”
There is a whole slate of regular events and activities going on at the center.
One of the current projects is the Stonewall memories project.
Stonewall Lehigh Valley is a gay bar in Allentown serving the LGBTQ community since 1972. The building housing the Stonewall bar was recently sold, leaving the bar no option but to close its doors. The bar held its last bash May 27.
The Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive is asking for anyone who frequented the bar to share their memories to preserve this important part of Lehigh Valley history.
The Bradbury-Sullivan Center recently reported the 2021 Lehigh Valley Pride event is scheduled noon-6 p.m. Aug. 15. It will be held entirely outdoors on the grounds of the JCC of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown.
Headliners will include drag superstars Kylie Sonique Love and Ariel Versace, as well as musicians Erin McKeown, Crys Matthews and Regina Sayles.
There will also be a host of other events including an LGBTQ+ Pride art exhibition at 8 N. Sixth St., Stroudsburg. The opening reception is 6 p.m. June 5 featuring artwork by Courtney Natt. Portions of the proceeds benefit the Bradbury-Sullivan Center.
For more information or more events, check out the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center website, bradburysullivancenter.org.
A member of the Bradbury-Sullivan community also shared his thoughts on Pride.
“Pride is an opportunity to celebrate who I am and to share that joy and excitement fully with our community,” Stephen from Allentown said. “It’s also a reminder of the ongoing battles our community fights to be seen, heard and counted. Pride started as a riot and now, it’s a party I look forward to every year.”
While Pride Month only comes once a year, we should all be striving to live with the same gusto and fervor year round. We should be showing our friends, family, neighbors and fellow human beings all the love, respect and support we can, no matter their sexual orientation.
So, have a happy June. Eat, drink, be merry and, most importantly, live your truth.