June is pride Month, when the world’s LGBTQ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. Pride events welcome anyone who feels like their sexual identity falls outside the mainstream—although many straight people join in, too. The original organizers chose this month in order to pay homage to the Stonewall uprising in June 1969 in New York City, which helped spark the modern gay rights movement.
Since that momentous event, there has been so much progress made. And yet, as the recent Target controversy over carrying Pride-related merchandise has shown us, there is still so much work to be done.
There are still millions of LGBTQ folks who face discrimination, who are victims of violence and hate crimes, and who have astronomical suicide rates. We are still arguing over who can use which public restrooms. There are still anti-LGBTQ laws being passed in our country which treat gay, transgender, and nonbinary folks like second-class citizens. And every day LGBTQ people are made to feel unsafe, unaccepted, and unincluded in their own communities.
At UMB, Pride Month is an opportunity for us to ask ourselves what more we can do to improve the lives of LGBTQ folks in our own community. We may also want to examine our own church to make sure we are doing everything possible to be a welcoming, inclusive, and safe place for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
The last Sunday of June will be Pride Sunday at UMB—a day we dedicate to raising awareness and celebrating the full spectrum of diversity of the human family. I also invite you to mark Saturday July 15 on your calendar, when UMB will proudly participate in Monterey Peninsula’s 2023 Pride March and celebration. Anyone who wishes to is invited to march with us and we will also be looking for volunteers to help organize and tend our table at the Pride celebration in Custom House Plaza that takes place immediately after the March. This is an important opportunity for us to be visible in the community and get the word out that we exist and that we are a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ folks!
Happy Pride Month 2023!