The flag waves in the gentle breeze, its radiant colors shining in the glow of the sun; the rainbow stands for the strength and beauty of an entire community founded upon love.
In 2016, former President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring June as LGBT Pride Month. Since then, the LGBT community has designated the month of June to celebrate pride in their identity. This month, the LGBT students of Atholton weighed in on what this month signified—not only to themselves, but also to the entire community.
“Pride Month, more than anything else, is about acceptance and being seen as a community,” said sophomore and Gender and Sexuality Alliance president Andres Johnson. “It originally started out, I believe, as a [part of the Stonewall riots] in 1969 against discrimination and basically saying, ‘we’re here and we’re not going anywhere even with discriminatory practices.’ Eventually over time, LGBT [people] became more accepted. So, there was more happiness and less anger involved.” Johnson said.
Pride month is a nationwide celebration for the LGBT community and its history. It originally began as a commemoration to the aforementioned riots, in which members of the LGBT community fought for their rights. Every year, all across the United States, events such as pride parades are held, and members of the community are given the opportunity to express who they truly are and the
Johnson explained how pride month must be a time to reflect on the amazing advancements the LGBT community has made in terms of how they are treated in society today in comparison to the past. He also talked about how not only is it a time of reflection upon the good times, but also the problems that remain, some being the AIDS crisis and the discrimination that continues in certain areas today.
Freshman Savannah Duvall stated that the way one should strive to celebrate pride month is to support their LGBT friends or school mates.
Sophomore Sarai Reyna shares this belief with Duvall. “I feel like whether you’re a part of the community itself or you’re just an ally as well, celebrating in general means showing that you support these people and that you are ready to talk to people and really see how other people are celebrating it,” she said.
There are many ways that people come up with to celebrate LGBT Pride month. Some go to county-wide events, host events themselves, or simply adorn their house with rainbow apparel.
Junior Samantha Gershuny mentioned that one year, she painted the colors of the pride flag on her cheek and hands every day throughout June. She changed the flag each day according to the pride month calendar, which designates a flag representing a sect of the community (bisexual, gay, transgender, etc.) for each day.
In the past, Howard County and surrounding cities in Maryland have hosted many events to celebrate pride month. Just last year, there was a large pride parade in Washington D.C.. Howard County’s pride parade is planned to take place on Saturday, June 29, and Frederick County is hosting theirs on June 11.
The lesson everyone can learn from pride month and LGBT community is the importance of love and acceptance. It is of the utmost importance that people can throw aside their differences and treat people with compassion and respect. Johnson finished with some words of assurance for those being mistreated for their identity: “Things get better with time… they’ll progress, and they will get better.”