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Pride Month is officially here and with it comes all the excitement and enthusiasm of the passionate LGBT+ community. Big festivals and events are hosted all across the U.S. in June and wherever you are, you won't be far from a Pride Parade!
Participate in an Unforgettable Pride March!
Photo by Jana S.
Outside of the festivities, many U.S. cities contain longstanding museums, galleries, shops, and tours, all dedicated to promoting awareness of queer culture and history. If you can’t make the trip for Pride Month, there are still plenty of LGBT+ activities to do.
Discover the best LGBT-friendly and queer-owned hotels, restaurants, and attractions in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco with this epic Pride Travel Guide!
New York City Pride
New York City always has the biggest parties!
Photo by Jessica I. (cropped)
In recent decades, New York has strived to become a symbol of acceptance towards the queer community. In fact, the city is estimated to contain one of the largest LGBT+ populations in the world. A cornerstone in gay rights activism, New York has seen significant historical events such as the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the 1966 Sip-in at Julius’ Bar. And in 2019, New York made history by hosting the biggest Pride March ever, with an estimated 5 million people in attendance.
Popular LGBT+ neighborhoods in Manhattan include Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, and the Lower East Side.
Pride Month in New York
Pride Month is a big deal in New York, as the city hosts dozens of LGBT+ events throughout the month. There are street fairs, concerts, symposiums, movie showings, and many more memorable experiences to be had. Pride Month also offers visitors the chance to connect and communicate with today’s leading LGBT+ rights activists.
The most hyped events are Alegria Pride 2022, Planet Pride, Tribal Fever Afterhours, and Pride Island. All of these are mixed-music festivals promoting queer artists and DJs. Don’t miss out on America’s biggest annual Pride March: the New York City Pride March, which will be held on the 26th of June, 2022.
Where to Stay in New York City
Stay in the heart of the action in NYC!
Photo by Beyond My Ken
Hyatt Union Square New York
134 Fourth Avenue
New York, NY, 10003
The Hyatt Union Square is situated in the heart of Downtown Manhattan, near many of New York’s most popular attractions. When you’re not out sightseeing, you can rest in comfort in one of the Hyatt’s spacious, pet-friendly rooms.
This modern hotel has a 24-hour gym (with complimentary fruit) and a business center. You can dine in the adjoining Bower Road restaurant for a fresh and healthy meal inspired by the local Union Square Greenmarket.
Solo travellers and groups both love staying at The Local NYC.!
Photo by Andrea D.
The Local NYC
13-02 44th Avenue
Queens, NY, 11101
A trendy hostel, favored by LGBT+ travelers, The Local NYC sits on the opposite side of the East River from central Manhattan. Solo visitors can book private rooms but most prefer the youthful social energy of the Local’s dorm rooms.
The dorm bunk beds are of a simple, practical design and include a reading light and a lockable cabinet. The highlight of The Local NYC is its rooftop terrace with an incredible view over the glowing Manhattan skyline.
Where to Eat in New York
A historic bar in central Manhattan!
Photo by Steam Pipe
159 West 10th Street
New York, NY, 10014
+1 877 746 0528
Nestled inside Manhattan’s enchanting Greenwich Village, Julius’ Bar has been cheerfully serving customers since 1864. In fact, important steps towards the legal acceptance of gay bars across the nation were made inside the historic walls of Julius’ Bar. It’s now a popular place to visit for its grilled burgers and fabulous cocktails. Stop by on Tuesdays for Julius’ Bar’s special retro ‘Tuesgay’ disco nights.
A delightful burst of flavor!
Photo by Lily B.
151 East Broadway
New York, NY, 10002
+1 646 609 3785
Kopitiam’s LGBT+ owner and head chef Kyo Pang is proud to present her restaurant’s Chinese and Malaysian-inspired cuisine. All produce is freshly sourced from local markets or Malaysia itself and the mouthwatering blend of flavors comes from Chef Pang’s all-natural family recipes. Each dish is a new journey for the senses and the subtle spices will leave you wanting more. Don’t arrive too late for lunch, though, as the popular restaurant fills up fast!
Things to do in New York CityExperience Pride History in New York!
Photo by Deirdre R.
Pride Walking Tour
38-64 Christopher Street
New York, NY, 10014
+1 860 670 8947
Many of the LGBT+ community’s biggest triumphs and tragedies were forged in the dynamic streets of New York. To appreciate the significance of Pride Month in the big city, join in on an official Pride Tour.
As you walk through the streets of downtown Manhattan, your guide will lead you through the biggest events and crucial LGBT+ institutions in New York’s history. Delve into the struggles of the past as you visit the Stonewall Inn, the Gay Street sign, the Gay Liberation Monument, and even Julius’ Bar!
Learn about queer history and culture this Pride Month!
Photo by Ajay S. (cropped)
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art
26 Wooster Street
New York, NY, 10013
+1 212 431 2609
The Leslie-Lohman Museum is a uniquely LGBT+ dedicated art gallery and museum, right in central New York. Admission is free so it’s definitely worth a visit for the provocative emotions evoked by so many queer artworks.
Indeed, the goal of the museum is to create a committed space for LGBT+ artists and scholars to view or add work, and to open up conversations on the personal trials of the community. The Leslie-Lohman Museum currently has over 25,000 items.
Drink at one of New York's only Lesbian bars!
Photo by Jim H. (cropped)
281 West 12th Street
New York, NY, 10014
+1 212 243 9041
If you’re searching for a memorable night out in one of New York’s few remaining lesbian establishments, then look no further than the Cubbyhole Bar. The Cubbyhole is an eclectic bar filled with colorful decorations and LGBT+ symbolism. Having opened in 1994, it has developed into a popular social hotspot for tourists and locals alike. Stop by between 4-7 pm on weekdays (2-6 pm on Saturday) to benefit from the Happy Hour deals.
Chicago Pride Fest
There's plenty of Pride Festivals in Chicago!
Photo by Norbu G. (cropped)
Chicago has slowly been working on LGBT+ rights for the last century, starting with America’s first recognized gay rights organization in 1924. A Chicagoan, Jim Flint, also founded the Miss Continental pageant in 1980. This was the first beauty pageant where trans women were allowed to enter. Chicago is now a buzzing hotspot for queer nightlife, with 7.5% of the population identifying as LGBT+.
Chicago’s biggest queer neighborhoods are Andersonville and Northalsted (which has earned the nickname ‘Boystown’).
Pride in the Park Festival
Pride Month in Chicago is celebrated by a series of festivals, drink events, and street markets. The massive Pride in the Park festival is headlined by The Chainsmokers and Alesso and features queer artists such as Rebecca Black, Spencer Brown, and Saucy Santana. The colorful Chicago Pride Parade takes place on the 26th of June, 2022.
Chicago Pride Fest
This legendary street festival is June 18-19 with the Pride Parade on June 26th. You can listen to headlining artists and local favorites on three stages, peruse over 150 arts and crafts booths and eat from a variety of local food and drink establishments.
Where to Stay in Chicago
Stay right near the Chicago nightlife!
Photo by Benjamin R.
Moxy Chicago Downtown
530 North LaSalle Drive
Chicago, IL, 60654
Based in the trendy River North district, home of Chicago’s vibrant nightlife, the Moxy Chicago Downtown is the perfect LGBT-friendly destination. Each room has a stylish, contemporary design and includes an ensuite bathroom and a large Smart TV.
The Moxy features book and vinyl record libraries, a professional sound booth where guests can make recordings, and a fine-dining restaurant and bar with an outdoor patio.
Make new friends this Pride in Chicago!
Photo by Dimitri B.
3514 North Sheffield Avenue
Chicago, IL, 60657
This fantastic hostel, located near the beach and Boystown, is way more than just a place to sleep for the night. Wrigley specializes in social vacations, with a computer room and a common room, containing a pool table, a ping pong table, foosball, board games, and a Bring Your Own Booze bar. There’s also a communal outdoor lounge with a BBQ for summer grilling.
Wrigley Hostel hosts parties and events most evenings, from pizza and movie nights to epic bar crawls. Sleep easy in a private room or forge new friendships in a mixed or female-only dorm.
Where to Eat in Chicago
Satisfy your Tex-Mex cravings in Chicago!
Photo by Hybrid Storytellers
D. S. Tequila Co.
3352 N Halsted Street
Chicago, IL, 60657
+1 773 697 9127
D. S. Tequila Co. is a hip and trendy Tex-Mex place, located within close walking distance to many of Chicago’s biggest attractions. Their famous handmade flour tortillas are always filled with fresh ingredients and each dish is made to order, meaning you can remove any sauces or veggies that aren’t to your taste.
The Tequila Co. is, unsurprisingly, a great place for drinks with over a dozen beers on tap and pitchers of margaritas abound. Stop by on Friday and Saturday evenings to listen to a DJ set as you feast on classic Tex-Mex in the greenhouse patio, which has a retractable roof!
Dine at a famous Chicagoan LGBT+ establishment!
Photo by Thomas H.
Big Chicks & Tweet
5024 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL, 60640
+1 773 728 5511
Big Chicks and Tweet are Chicago’s famous 2-in-1 gay bar and organic restaurant. Based in the Uptown area, with a timeless art deco design, Big Chicks acts as an informal LGBT+ community center. The bar was actually inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2016.
The adjacent Tweet restaurant serves food to its own customers and those of the bar. Breakfast and Lunch are offered in Tweet, where you’ll find a delightful range of classic dishes, with a Chicago twist. Dinner, however, can only be ordered in Big Chicks.
Things to do in Chicago
See the show that redefines live entertainment!
Photo by Inside the Magic
Blue Man Group
3133 N Halsted Street
Chicago, IL, 60657
+1 800 258 3626
For a whirlwind experience of music, performance art, and technological displays, check out Chicago’s own Blue Man Group. A show that defies definition, the Blue Man Group was founded on the principle that entertainment can transcend language barriers if none of the performers speak. Instead, they play custom instruments and present comedic skits.
Although not explicitly an LGBT+ event, many of the Blue Men identify as queer. The Blue Man Group promises a unique and unforgettable performance that will change the way you view live entertainment. Warning: those sitting near the front may get splashed.
What treasures can you find at the Andersonville Galleria?
Photo by Joshua F. (cropped)
5247 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL, 60640
+1 773 878 8570
At the center of the dynamic Andersonville district sits the curious Andersonville Galleria. A veritable maze of over 100 tiny shops and market stalls, this Galleria is an indoor boutique wonderland. The businesses are run by local merchants, many of whom are LGBT+.
Don’t expect to walk away empty-handed as you will definitely be enticed by the astonishing array of unique artworks and artisan products on display.
See the small Chicago bookstore that's changing minds and lives!
Photo by Veronika J. (cropped)
Women and Children First
5233 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL, 60640
+1 773 769 9299
Right next door to the Galleria is the amazing Women and Children First bookshop. Founded with a belief that literature has the power to change hearts and minds, the bookstore is dedicated to stories by and about women.
As self-proclaimed ‘intersectional trans-inclusive feminists’, Women and Children First acts to educate visitors on feminist and LGBT+ issues. With over 20,000 books in stock, the store encourages young readers to ease into the works with book reading events and virtual conversations with authors.
San Francisco Pride
Celebrate Pride in the Gay Capital of the World
Photo by Piotr M. (cropped)
San Francisco is often lovingly referred to as ‘The Gay Capital of the World’. Indeed, ‘Frisco has a long history of LGBT+ residents, starting from the beginning of the 20th century. In 1961, San Francisco had the first openly gay candidate running for a US public office position. In 1965, the first Gay Liberation organization in America was founded there. San Francisco also does a lot for trans activism, including the annual Trans March on June 25th, one of the world’s largest events for transgender visibility.
Although most of the city is a diverse mixture of LGBT+ identifying people and allies, there are a few prominent queer neighborhoods. The most popular LGBT+ districts are The Castro, The Mission, and SoMa.
Pride Month in San Francisco
Pride Month in San Francisco brings with it a wave of music and film festivals, and in-person and virtual talks with LGBT+ activists. The biggest music event is the Fresh Meat Festival, featuring queer and transgender artists. There will also be food, craft, and resource fairs surrounding the big marches.
The annual San Francisco Pride Parade will be hosted in the city on the 26th of June, 2022.
Where to Stay in San Francisco
An elegant stay in central San Francisco!
Photo by Kenny E.
Parker Guest House
520 Church Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 621 3222
The Parker Guest House is an enchanting hotel in central San Francisco, presenting a subdued, luxurious elegance in each spacious room. Formed from early 19th-century mini-mansions, Parker Guest House offers comfort and class with each stay. Guests can wander around the verdant gardens, listen to piano music in the lounges, or join a complimentary wine social in Parker’s sunroom.
The Orange Village Hostel is a short walk from the hsitoric Union Square!
Photo by Shaunak D.
Orange Village Hostel
411 O’Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
+1 415 409 4000
Stay near some of San Francisco’s biggest attractions in the Orange Village Hostel. Offering cheap yet comfortable private rooms, and beds in male and female dorms, the Orange Village Hostel is the best place to stay in San Francisco on a budget.
The hostel has a communal lounge where they host pizza nights and organize fun activities and events. They are also happy to provide you with lots of local information for your stay in ‘Frisco.
Where to Eat in San Francisco
Come here for a rich, hearty meal in San Francisco!
Photo by Maddi B.
3499 16th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 525 4905
Kitchen Story in The Castro is a relatively new and incredibly popular restaurant that serves an exceptional blend of Thai and American cuisine. Kitchen Story specializes in delicious, filling brunches.
Their feature ingredient is the sweet and spicy millionaire’s bacon. This mouthwatering treat comes as a topping for burgers, eggs, or french toast. If it isn’t included with your dish but you really want to try it, you can order the millionaire’s bacon as a side.
Eat at this amazing LGBT-owned establishment!
Photo by Thomas H.
3991 17th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 864 9795
Welcome to The Castro’s famous all-day breakfast, sandwich, and burger bar. Owned by husbands Bill Pung and Dennis Zieball since 1977, Orphan Andy’s is one of the beating hearts of San Francisco’s LGBT+ community.
The interior has a homely design, with red leather on the booths and bar stools, and neon-lined wood paneling all around. This vintage style makes it easy to relax into a good American meal as you imagine the decades of queer history that this ‘Frisco landmark has seen.
Things to do in San Francisco
Experience San Francisco's best open-air LGBT exhibit!
Photo by Greg R.
Rainbow Honor Walk
499 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
When you find a beautiful sunny day and want to immerse yourself in queer history as you stroll in the fresh air, visit the Rainbow Honor Walk. Nestled in the heart of The Castro, the Rainbow Honor Walk is styled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Only instead of stars, there are large bronze plaques dedicated to the world’s greatest LGBT+ pioneers.
Here you can walk over rainbow crosswalks that interlink facts and stories on some of the greatest queer influencers of the 20th century. It’s the perfect open-air exhibition to learn about well-known and under-represented figures, including Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Frida Kahlo, Glenn Burke, Freddie Mercury, and Alan Turing.
See the best of San Francisco from a 70s VW campervan!
Photo by Nick K. (cropped)
San Francisco Love Tours
2899 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA, 94109
+1 415 366 6156
Experience the best of historic San Francisco from inside a groovy 70s VW Campervan. This 2-hour daytime tour is an intimate way to learn about love throughout the ages in the Golden City, with only 6 people maximum per bus. Along the drive, you will hear interesting facts and exclusive stories from your local guide.
Featured locations on the tour include historically LGBT+ districts such as The Castro and The Mission, and the famous crooked Lombard Street. The hippie bus stops twice for photo opportunities: at the Golden Gate Bridge and for a view of the San Francisco Skyline.
Gain a fascinating new perspective on LGBT+ history in San Francisco.
Photo by Jason L. (cropped)
GLBT Historical Society
4127 18th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 777 5455
An internationally-recognized leader in LGBTQ public history, the GLBT Historical Society was founded in 1985 to promote, and make accessible, queer history and culture. Now, it proudly presents a museum in The Castro district and, though it is small, it definitely packs a punch.
Don’t be afraid to spend time reading faded letters or watching the mini-documentaries. Visitors come to learn about and understand queer struggles through the last decades. The biggest impact is often made by the genuine Harvey Milk bullhorn in his campaign exhibit.
Update: According to the Ray Boltz website, the Christian musician is now retired and living in Florida with his husband. Read on to learn more about Ray Boltz, his music career, his family, and why he decided to come out. In 2010 his album True won Album of the Year at the OUTMusic Awards.
During the course of 15 years in the Contemporary Christian Music Industry, Ray Boltz acquired three Dove Awards, two gold albums, one gold video, 12 number one singles, and sold more than 4 million units of product. Then, he decided to let the world know he's gay.
Why now? Why, after 30 years of marriage, four children, and a career most Christian artists only dream about, would Boltz step boldly out of the closet?
Growing Up in Indiana
In order to understand his actions, it is important to understand Boltz’s background. He grew up in a small town in Indiana with his parents, an older brother, a younger sister, and a younger brother who passed away three months after being born.
He went to public schools and attended a small one-room Methodist church. But even during these young formative years, Boltz would find ways to express his musical ability aside from taking piano and guitar lessons and singing special music at church.
“I was always writing songs…even as a little kid," Boltz said. "I would lay around in the back yard, stare up at the sky and write songs. I loved doing that.”
“When I was young, I also knew who I was attracted to. But anytime I thought about it, it always came with a lot of guilt. I didn’t know any gay people where I lived and never saw it on television. So I listened to what the church told me about homosexuality. And that is, that it was wrong. But if I truly gave my heart to Christ, I could get victory over anything. I just needed to serve the Lord, and He would take care of it.”
That was the mindset that would affect every thought and every action Boltz would have.
Boltz attended college at Ball State University and graduated with a major in marketing and a minor in radio and television. While he was in college, he married Carol, who would be his wife for 30 years. During his college days, he began singing in a variety of churches and associations. This eventually led to him going full-time in contemporary Christian music in 1986.
But when Boltz stepped boldly out of the closet only a few months ago, some of his fans might have felt deceived. After all, Boltz has been blessed with a beautiful family and a successful career that put him on a national and international platform to proclaim the 'good news of Christ.' Yet all that time, Boltz was hiding the fact that he was gay.
I wish I could take people into where I was…to walk a mile in my shoes," Boltz said. "I set out to deceive no one. I believed with all my heart if I prayed enough, if I believed enough, if I read the Bible enough, if I sought counsel enough, if I fasted enough, then these feelings and thoughts would go away. I spent my entire adult life fighting and struggling that way. I don’t think that is deceptive at all. If anything, I was the one who was deceived…by well-meaning people who said it could be overcome.”
Deciding to Come Out
Boltz read every book he could find on the topic, and outside of a Christian counselor, told no one about his struggle.
"After 30 years of trying to overcome this, I finally realized this would never change," Boltz said. "Being gay is not something I do, it is who I am.”
Another counselor Ray was seeing felt he needed to be completely honest about who he is. So one night, Ray was sitting with his family. They knew he had been depressed for quite some time but had no idea what was going on.
His family asked, “Dad, what’s wrong?”
Finally, after years of devastating struggle, Boltz said, “I’m gay.”
“I had never said these words to anyone, outside of a counselor," he said. "But I felt if I couldn’t tell my family, the people closest to me, who could I tell?” It was an emotionally overwhelming time as a family, but a time that would strengthen them as a whole.
“Each member of my family, all four children, and my wife, came to me individually saying they loved me, they cared about me, they accepted me,” Boltz said.
Boltz and Carol separated and eventually divorced realizing that healing needed to occur on many levels for both of them.
“We still love each other," Boltz said. "We talk every day. But we both knew it would be healthier if we separated.”
Ray Boltz on His Faith, Sexuality, and Gay Marriage
And now, four years later, Boltz has made more of a public statement about his faith and sexuality. Why now? Why, after coming out to his family four years ago, would Boltz feel the need to come out in a public way?
Boltz said when he came out to his family, he inadvertently put them in the closet.
“I had a good marriage," Boltz said. "People never suspected there were any problems. So if my kids were asked why we separated, they couldn’t be honest. By coming out publicly, they could be honest and authentic.”
Since coming out to his family, Boltz spent much of his time visiting a variety of Metropolitan Community Churches and other gay-affirming churches.
“These churches were no different from the churches I had sung in for the past 30 years," Boltz said. "They were seeking to worship God in a way they see fit.” They eventually began asking him to sing.
“I knew if I was going to do that, then I had to be completely honest and authentic about my life," Boltz said.
Since coming out publicly, Boltz said his faith has deepened.
“I have come to a point in my faith where it is okay to question things…I don’t want to believe something just because culture says I should believe it," he said. "This is reflected in my songwriting as well. It isn’t wrong to express doubt. Our faith can grow through doubt.”
Though Boltz has overcome the barrier to authentic happiness, many in the Christian music industry are likely still hiding the fact that they are gay out of fear of losing their career, or simply not being able to reconcile their faith and sexuality.
“I can’t be a poster child for people to come out," Boltz said. "But I can say everyone needs people in their lives they can be honest with.”
Boltz said that he plans to continue writing and singing songs in the future. Now he'll be able to share fully who he is and what he believes.
"I think being partnered is a possibility, but what I’m learning is that before you can be happy with anybody else, you have to be happy with yourself and I’m finally coming to that place,” Boltz said.
Find out more about Ray Boltz's music by visiting his shopify site.
So how do we talk about transgender issues (even if you're not transgender)? There are three main things to remember when discussing transgender issues today, so before getting into the meat and potatoes of it all, let's keep these things in mind:
- It is not a political discussion, it is a human rights discussion.
- There is a rich history rooted in transgender rights that must be considered when discussing these issues.
- Humanization should always be at the forefront of the conversation.
Before going into any conversation, no matter who it's with, try to keep these things in mind before you say something that may be inappropriate, misguided, or just plain wrong. Even those with the best intentions can mess up; remember that it is always ok to admit when you do not know something or when you are wrong. That being said, let's get into it.
Transgender bathroom bills
So whether you choose to become a transgender activist or if you just want to be a better ally, this easy talking point will generally keep you in line and on the safe side of conversations while still putting forth the effort to encourage and better represent transgender rights.
Easy, all-around approach: This will work for almost all transgender issues and expand on the previous three rules; firstly, trans issues are not a debate. When discussing with someone, do not indulge in hypotheticals and always remember that transgender people are the exact same as anyone else, with the exact same feelings. Keeping this in mind, let's use the bathroom bill as an example. When discussing this issue, one should humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation. How does one employ this, though? Here is an example of how the conversation may go.
Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restroom, they will rape my daughters.
So this statement is clearly based on reactionary conversation perpetuated by anti-transgender ideals. This means that the person probably has a misconception of the history and oppression of transgender people. They also show concern for their family, which is a step towards humanization, despite the misconception. Here would be an appropriate response that helps to humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation.
Person 2: I don't want men in the women's restroom, either, which is why we need to make sure people who identify as women are using the women's restroom. There has never been a documented case where a transgender person has raped either a man or woman in a public restroom. And by forcing people to use a restroom that does not match their gender identity, it is promoting violence, as there is a strong history of physical violence against transgender people.
By only saying about three sentences, you are able to do the previous steps while discussing the issue in a civil manner without opening it up to debate. The key to this is to keep it short and sweet, stating both the truth and an ally's stance to support the transgender community. It's critical to make sure that what you say is backed with confidence, though, which is why this second approach is more encouraged as it gives the person speaking more confidence in their opinion.
The second approach: backed by facts and history, is the exact same as before, but this approach leaves the other person with more questions about their stance and gives them something to consider. Before going into this approach, however, it is important to keep in mind that you are not debating the existence of trans people, nor are you trying to change someone's mind. That is not the goal; the goal is simply to get your opinion across in a way that honors both the trans community and their ideas. Let's take the same example as before but add the new sentiments.
Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restrooms, they will rape my daughters.
Person 2: There has never been a documented case of a transgender person raping anyone in a public restroom, and the only published cases of such were proven to be false. Further, when people say things like this, they are perpetuating violence against transgender people, which has historically (and still does) oppressed and insight further physical violence against them. And honestly, the most common reason there is this stance is because the person typically does not know a trans person and may not even know a person who does know a trans person. But the truth is, they probably do. The probability is more likely that the transgender people around them are just not comfortable enough in the environment to come out and speak up about their gender identity. And yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is quite sad that some people's opinion does not invite civil discussion but instead incites violence.
This approach is more confrontational, which requires more confidence when using it in a conversation, but it still holds true to all of the previous rules and sentiments. It adds truth based on history, which is an important aspect of trans rights as it reminds people of where we were/ where we are currently with human rights. These ideas can be transferred to most all trans issues and will honor the transgender movement and your allyship. The last thing to keep in mind is the person or reason you are standing up for/with trans rights. The passion -the compassion will shine through in conversation if you keep your reasoning close to heart. Whether it is because of a transgender friend, family member, or just because of your moral values, if you put your emotions into your reasoning, it will create more compelling statements, especially if the statement is well versed with the facts.
Tips to Remember When Discussing Transgender Issues
- Transgender issues are not political, they are human rights issues
- There is a rich history behind transgender issues
- Humanize transgender people through our words and ideas and don't forget to include:
- 3(b). The facts
- 3(c).The confidence
- 3(d). The inspiration behind the support for transgender rights
- On Transgender Day of Visibility, meet six community members ... ›
- This Transgender in Sports Event Tackles Big Issues - OutVoices ›
- Helpful Resources for the Trans Community in Kansas City ... ›
- Transgender people more likely to face food insufficiency - OutVoices ›
- Lee Hatcher - OutVoices ›
- Transgender Representation in Media - OutVoices ›
- Minding Your Health - Tips for Being an Ally to Transgender People ... ›
To begin, a quick history lesson will keep you up to date with all the work transgender people have put forth in order to help Pride month happen in the first place. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights dates back further than one usually imagines but, in particular, is typically marked by the Stonewall Riots. Led by Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson, a transgender woman of color who helped the New York activist scene for over 25 years, the Stonewall Riots began on June 28th, 1969 in New York. Alongside Sylvia Riveria, a Latina trans woman, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a black trans woman, Marsha P. Johnson led one of the most important queer liberations in history.
While the Riots remain a huge moment in history, many often forget those who played front-facing roles in it. Marsha was only 23 years old at the time but was a fearless, ferocious, brave leader who tackled injustice head-on in the riots. In addition to this, she was also co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a shelter for homeless transgender youth; she was a big activist for the BIPOC and LGBT+ community, and STAR was revolutionary in many ways, including being the first-ever LGBT+ shelter in North America which was also the first organization in the US to be run by a trans woman of color. Marsha's contributions toward the first Pride parade preceded it by an entire year- the first pride parades came a year after the stonewall riots to commemorate it. Her legacy will live on through her acts and is celebrated by members of the LGBT+ community alike every pride.
With that out of the way, being trans during pride month can hold a lot of meaning for a lot of people, especially given the incomparable history led by transgender women that helped to shape the LBGT+ community today. Pride itself has a long history rooted in defying gender normalities and cisgender, heteronormative ideals. That, in it itself, is a lot to be proud of- let alone each individual's transgender experience that brings more color to personal pride. It is something to celebrate, our own continuation, contribution, and resistance to oppression. For those who are out as transgender, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, nonbinary, or identify anywhere outside of the cisgender binary, just being yourself and expressing your gender identity is a way of celebrating this. And it is momentous to do so! However, of course, it's not the only way; going to pride parades, celebrating with friends, or having your own celebration is just as good, if not more fun. Going to pride marches, participating in pride events or activities, and any form of activism are great ways of acknowledging and indulging in the history that brought us here.
Reaching out for helpPhoto by Stormseeker on Unsplash
But, of course, there is always the other side of the coin because this can be extremely difficult for some due to past experiences or traumas. And for others, this is not an option because (and unfortunately, more often than not) coming out is not a safe, viable option due to age, location, and often the stiff political climate that makes transgender people stay hidden. So while there is a lot to celebrate and be proud of, we must also be prideful for those who are unable to be. Because in addition to the rich history of activism and change, there is still an extreme deficit and predisposition to suicide and murder. According to some of the most recent research, the transgender suicide rate is up to 43%, and once every three days, a transgender person is murdered, with transgender women of color being the most likely victims.
Efforts to calculate and track transgender murder rates are often hindered by laws and data collection, therefore reported numbers may not be the best representations. Alongside these statistics come very scary legislation, such as House Bill 151 and HF 184 that allow the 'inspection' of young girls' genitals in an effort to keep transgender girls from participating in sports. There are also bathroom bills, pronoun and name bills, and medical care acts that are trying to strip away our rights. The huge dark cloud of oppression still hangs heavily over many transgender people within the United States and is much worse elsewhere in the world.
But, these are all reasons to be more prideful as well. Trans people have historically risen above and fought to be themselves- and admit the oppression, we will continue to do so unapologetically. So despite all the sorrowfully realities we face, we must take them in stride and use them for our pride, We need to keep them in mind not just to remember the reality but to be able to say, "This is what we deal with and yet, we use it to fuel our pride." Because the reality is that we are all making history just by existing and that is something to celebrate. So take pride in everything and for everyone, especially for those who may not be able to themselves. Pride month is a time to celebrate ancestors, self-discovery, friendship, and much more, so if you are able to, do so!
Activism has always and will continue to be a huge part of pride until there is equity for every minority group. So consider using these resources to continue your activism of change towards trans rights and equality. You can do so by contacting your legislators regarding your local anti-trans legislature. Or if you are able, donate to funds that support transgender persons legally! And if you're unable to do either and are in need of support, here are a few resources that may help: The Trevor project; 1-866-488-7386 Trans Life Line; 1-877-565-8860.
Author's Note: It is important to not only recognize and acknowledge the deep-rooted history that transgender individuals had in creating equal opportunities and rights for the LGBTQ+ community but also recognize the deep-seated oppression that continues to plague the transgender community today, despite best efforts towards equality, justice, and freedom. When discussing Pride Month or any celebration of LGBTQ+ individuals, give credit where credit is due.
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