Here’s How Queer People Can Embrace Our Power This Pride

“Celebrate good times, come on!” Happy Pride. Happy June.

With this article and those over the next month, we’re dishing up the P-R-I-D-E. Not only is it time for a party, but it’s also much more. It’s overcoming political and personal attacks. It’s our individual financial successes. Ultimately, it’s lifting our community up.

Ready? Let’s get started.

“P” is for power. That’s power in our strength and power in our influence. These are the five pillars of power in the queer community.

Have Gratitude for the Power of Stonewall

We have the luxury of celebrating today with parades and festivals around the world thanks to our brave LGBT brothers and sisters who came before us.Click To Tweet In the 1950s and 1960s, the LGBT scene was an underground counterculture. Most LGBT people did their best to conceal who they were to avoid abuse from the community and the law.

But, the summer of 1969 was hot. The temperature was hot. Black Civil Rights movement was hot. Vietnam was hot. LGBT Civil Rights was hot.

During a police raid at The Stonewall Bar in Greenwich Village, New York City, LGBT people had enough. They were done being treated like second-class citizens. A standard police raid turned into a riot, which led to protests and confrontations for the next several nights.

Through a series of efforts, the LGBT community got the attention that led to advancements in LGBT civil rights. The first Pride Parades took place in June 1970 and what initially started out as a protest has become a celebration of our diversity as a group and of ourselves.

We owe it to our LGBT ancestors who embraced their queer power to embrace our queer power. Thank you!

Know the Power of a ‘Sissy’ Who Was No Coward

In 1977, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay non-incumbent politician elected to office in the United States and the first gay person elected to office in the state of California.

Milk’s most famous speech is something many LGBT people live by today.

“We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m go-ing to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives.”

Milk lost his life to an assassin in 1978. It’s because of the courage of people like Milk that we have the rights we have today. It’s because of people like Milk that we must use our queer power for good and continue to fight for our rights today.

Feel How the Power of Resistance Made Us Stronger

The queer community has made a lot of progress since the 1969 Stonewall Riots, especially in the last decade. However, the queer struggle has migrated to the state-level.

For example, the Colorado Senate narrowly avoided voting for Senate Bill 283 earlier this year. Supporters sold the bill as a “right to disagree” bill, but it had the potential to erode anti-discrimination laws in Colorado. Colorado Senate Bill 283 would’ve allowed private businesses to decline to associate with other persons or entities with which the business owner “disagrees.” Many Coloradans were concerned with the vague language of the bill and how it could be harmful to minorities and people of different beliefs and faiths.

The risk isn’t only with private business. The Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, currently has on her desk Alabama House Bill 24. If she signs this bill, also known as the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, it will legalize state adoption agencies to prohibit LGBT people from adopting children based on religious beliefs.

Colorado Senate Bill 283 and Alabama House Bill 24 are just two examples of the obstacles queer people have yet to overcome at the state-level. Indiana’s Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, caused concern when then Indian Governor and current Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, signed the bill into law in 2015. Hawaii, Mississippi, Tennessee and other states have all caused a similar concern.

We don’t stop going to the gym when we reach out fitness goals. One victory does not make a champion. Marriage equality became legal in all 50 states in June of 2015, but that doesn’t mean our fight for equality is over. It’s time to get our pump on and get even stronger so, we can face any challenge.

Weigh the Power of Our Purses

According to Witeck Communications, the purchasing power of the queer community as of 2016 was close to $1 trillion. It’s because of this purchasing power that we have influence with some of today’s largest U.S. companies, such as Target, Walt Disney Co and Apple. The help of these companies has avoided some state-level initiatives to take away the rights of LGBT people or make our lives harder.

Therefore, let us use our pink dollars not only to make ourselves feel good but also to support the companies, local LGBT businesses and local advocacy organizations that raise us up and continue the fight for equality.

Strive for the Power of Being on Top

We’re not victims. We’re not weak. We are tenacious and vigorous.

These are all the qualities of leaders. We’re out, right? Let’s step even further out and step up. Be a queer leader. It’s when we become leaders that we have the most power to affect the changes we want to see.

The better we perform in our industries, and the more we become leaders in those industries, the more we’ll be recognized for our contributions to society and less for our sexual orientations and gender identities.

When society sees us for more than what makes us different, we’ll be the first-class citizens The Stonewall Rioters fought for us to be.Click To Tweet Let’s make them proud. So, when you celebrate PRIDE this month, cherish the opportunities we have and revel in your queer power.

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