June is Pride Month!

By Sarah Slavenas, NCEDSV
Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) communities. However, it is not relegated just to the LGBTQ folx, it also includes those who identify as nonbinary, pansexual, intersex, two-spirit, asexual and aromantic, or who identify in other ways, or are questioning their sexual or gender identity or expression.
According to the History Channel’s website page, Pride parades began in 1970, a year after the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Much later in 1999, June was officially designated as Pride Month to honor the contribution of members first of the Lesbian and Gay communities, and then it was expanded as gender and sexual identities were better understood. That presidential designation also sought to reach true tolerance, equality and freedom through the inclusion and appreciation for Lesbian and Gay people at all levels of our society. Then, 50 years after the Stonewall Riots, the New York Police Department finally extended a formal apology for its discriminatory practices and laws targeting gay people, and for its role in the riots.
So, what does all of this have to do with NCEDSV? Well, for many years LGBTQ+ voices and experiences were largely ignored within the domestic and sexual violence movements. Unfortunately, this was a huge mistake because research (pg.30-32) demonstrates that these communities experience victimization at the same or higher rates as heterosexual individuals and couples.
Our failures within this movement to properly identify and address the prevalence of abuse in all forms and against all people, means that we are on a learning curve now, which can make seeking services difficult for those who identify as LGBTQ+. Imagine being a transgender victim of domestic violence and needing to enter a shelter. Can you put yourself in their shoes and contemplate the extra fears they may have besides fleeing their abuser? “What if I can’t find a shelter that will accept me?” “Will people there treat me differently because of my gender identity/expression?” “Will the services I receive be sensitive to my gender identity/expression?”. These are all questions someone who is transgender may ask themselves that a cisgender victim-survivor probably doesn’t ever have to.
Sometimes it feels like we have a very long way to go until we reach true tolerance, equality and freedom through the inclusion and appreciation for LGBTQ+ people at all levels of our society. However, with your help and commitment we will get there that much sooner. Please find ways to support Pride celebrations this June!