June is Pride Month

Shade never made anybody less gay

June is Pride Month, a time when the LGBTQIA+ community should be able to celebrate being themselves. Being a part of this community even in today’s age is possibly one of the hardest things a person can do, so I celebrate anyone who identifies as part of this community because support isn’t always easy to find.

I talk about not spreading hate, but I always feel it’s incredibly important whilst discussing the LGBTQIA+ community. The norm even in 2019 is being heterosexual, and there are still too many people in the world who neither support the community nor care to educate themselves on it. There are still people who think there is something wrong with being anything but yourself. As of April 2019, only 16 states in the United States of America have criminalised conversion therapy on minors.

In 2018, the film ‘Love, Simon’ was the first major Hollywood studio film to focus on a gay teenage romance and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ won Rami Malek an Oscar at the 2019 Academy Awards for playing Freddie Mercury. The LGBTQIA+ community being predominantly represented in film and television without being the stereotyped sidekick is a breath of fresh air, but it doesn’t mean everyone’s supportive of this change.

Despite ‘Moonlight’ encouraging many to become more comfortable with their sexuality, and ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ showcasing transgender and non-binary characters respectively, bigotry lurks. ‘Rocketman’ was banned in Samoa, after the film was the first Hollywood blockbuster with a sex scene between two men.‘Beauty and the Beast’ was banned in numerous countries, including America, after Disney changed the sexual orientation of the character Lefou for its live-action adaptation.

For some reason, being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community still makes you an outcast. Many celebrities who identify as LGBTQIA+ feel a sense of responsibility forced upon them, to be a positive influence for others in the community. But many of these celebrities have also expressed how their sexuality is a defining feature and being a part of the community is the first thing people often see about them. Broadway performer Billy Porter also expressed how although LGBTQIA+ roles are more available, they are often not offered to those who are part of the community, and instead go to cisgender actors because their names are more widely known.

But why do people care to be mean to the LGBTQIA+ community? Truly. Why do people care about who other people love? How does two men kissing on their wedding day because they love each other affect you? Why do you care if someone has started living as another gender because they know they were born into the wrong body? They’ve

discovered their true self and should be celebrated for it. Why does it affect you if someone wants gender neutral pronouns? Use them and be respectful. Why does everyone believe that they deserve a say on what happens in the LGBTQIA+ community if they’re not a part of the community? Just let people live their lives.

Between Boston having a ‘Straight Pride Parade’ and the lesbian couple attacked on a bus for refusing to kiss, this year’s Pride month truly shows why it’s needed. Not enough people are truly accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community, but instead of spreading hate, maybe they should try educating themselves enough on what the community is about.

By teaching children about the LGBTQIA+ community in schools, it doesn’t ‘force’ a certain sexuality on them because your sexuality isn’t learnt behaviour. Teaching children about LGBTQIA+ means that there will be less miserable children thinking that they are awful people because of their sexuality; there will be less bullying, because having lessons about the LGBTQIA+ community normalises it. Because being a part of that community is normal and natural, and thus far the world’s been hiding that.

Try to educate yourself. Either do so online or ask someone who’s a part of the community. It may seem embarrassing to ask, but it shows personal growth because you are encouraging their self-expression and trying to understand it yourself. Ask them what it feels like to be a part of the community and why it’s such an important community to them. Because I doubt you could walk away from that conversation and still believe it’s anything but amazing to celebrate them and who they are.

They were created to be who they are, never try to take that away from them or shame them.

You don’t have to paint everything rainbow. But you do have to make sure that the person you know who is LGBTQIA+ is loved. You do have to make sure that they feel accepted and that they know there is nothing wrong with being them. You do have to raise your children to know it’s okay to be LGBTQIA+. It’ll be harder for everyone if your child resents themselves because they think there’s something bad about them being a part of the community.

In the words of Tan France, “It’s very unlikely that people are going to cause you an issue just because you are being yourself. And if they’re concerned, that’s on them. You’re happy”.

Remember: You do not have the right to shame a person for who they are. Ever.

Always support members of the LGBTQIA+ community, because there are many, many people who won’t.

By Tirion Davies