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Celebrate the Rights of the LGBTQIA+ Community

Every month, the Diversity and Community Office shares and educates about a holiday or observance as a way to build and support an inclusive community.

E-chieh Lin, UPrep’s director of diversity and community, writes about Pride Month and the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community

June is Pride Month! Pride is celebrated across the United States, and it is dedicated to celebrating the freedom and rights of those who self-identify within the LGBTQIA+* community. The month generally includes national and citywide activities and community discussions around LGBTQIA+ history, advocacy, identity, and rights. Some of these activities culminate in parades or celebration of those who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community.  Even in a pandemic year, virtual events are happening to celebrate Pride, like the one that is organized by Seattle Pride on June 26 and 27. 

In celebrating the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, we also need to remember those who have dedicated their lives to fighting specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community to change our society and laws, including Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Harvey Milk, Edith Windsor, Laverne Cox, and many more. In 2015, the Supreme court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. However, same sex couples are still discriminated against, as business owners refuse to provide services for same-sex partners. 

Like me, many of us are privileged to be heterosexual. We are free to love and be with our cis-gender partner without consequence of being discriminated against for the gender of the person we love. There are still many of us who are not free to love who they love, shunned from the faiths they choose to practice, without the freedom to be uniquely individual because of one’s sexual orientation, which is not a choice. Even though some of our laws have changed, it is important to remember that for many people in the LGBTQIA+ community, being free to be oneself often comes with many challenges, such as family acceptance, bullying, religious shunning, abuse, violence, and the erosion of human rights. 

As I write this blog, there are more than 30 states nationwide whose lawmakers have introduced bills to restrict transgender girls and women from participating in sports on gender-binary teams. Many antidiscrimination clauses are written as “we will not discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability” and so on. It is hard for me to understand the benefit of barring transgender girls and women from participating in the sport with which they identify. 

As my colleague and friend, Lakaya Renfrow, director of diversity at the Evergreen School, shares with her community, “To celebrate PRIDE means being Powerfully Resilient, Individually unique, Daring dreamers who Endure in the face of ignorance, bigotry, and violence.” Let us celebrate Pride every day of the year, living as PRIDE people who build a society and communities where every person can be loved for the unique person they want to be. 

To learn more during Pride Month and all year long, check out these resources:

* lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transexual/transgender, questioning/queer, intersex, asexual, plus is for new subsects

Read more blogs in the Listen to Learn series: AANHPI Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage MonthRamadanWomen's History MonthBlack History MonthMartin Luther King Jr. DayNative American Heritage MonthNational Disability Awareness Month, and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

By Directory of Diversity and Community & Director of Hiring    E-chieh Lin


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