As a gay man in Oklahoma, it’s hard to live here and not feel isolated. Most of the portrayal I see in the media is of people on the shores who have a larger gay community than what is here.
It took so many years of my youth to come to terms with the fact that I was gay. The fear of being exposed and the paranoia that everyone is talking about is something that so many young gay people experience.
It’s important for people to remember that in states like Oklahoma, acceptance can be hard to come by. But when I found people who were like me, I immediately felt a connection, a shared experience of being LGBTQ + in Oklahoma.
I never asked to be gay, but I’m proud to be. It taught me the value of certain relationships. People who really love me and appreciate me for my character have never been fooled by my sexuality.
LGBT Pride Month in the United States commemorates the Stonewall Riots of June 1969. While far from being the first gay uprising, it has become the catalyst for a larger wave of LGBTQ + activism that will continue for the next decades.
Pride Month in June is a time for people like me to celebrate the triumphs our community has experienced while mourning the loss of those around us.
Coming to myself with my sexuality has allowed me to stand up for the rights of not only myself, but also those of other people who are worse than me.
The goal of Pride Month is to remember those who fought for decades for the rights of LGBTQ + people today.
Every June, American businesses often celebrate the LGBTQ + community in a performative way.
Whether it’s businesses that are changing their logos to rainbows or releasing a limited edition Pride collection in their inventory, most of them are doing so to retain their customers and increase their profits during the season. season. It makes it hard to remember this month’s goal.
Pride Month isn’t always just about big parades and rainbow flags (however, they’re all welcome), but it’s about remembering the work that remains to be done for those who are marginalized. in their communities.
According to Anagha Srikanth’s article with The Hill, seven transgender women of color were killed in April this year. Another article published in February by Out said 29 transgender Americans had been killed so far.
Today in Oklahoma, conversion therapy is still legal. Minors can also be sent to conversion therapy without their consent.
Conversion therapy promotes the idea of âârejecting one’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Those who take conversion therapy are eight times more likely to attempt suicide, six times more likely to suffer from depression, and more than three times more likely to use illegal drugs.
People who identify as Two-Spirit, Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, Transgender, Non-Binary, or in any other way that people identify with, shouldn’t cost them their lives. Until LGBTQ + people are able to live in harmony and not care about their own safety in their neighborhood and workplace, there is work to be done.
If you are straight and reading this right now, thank you for reading this far in my column. I encourage you to read and listen to other LGBTQ + writers and activists (especially people of color) to better understand the work that needs to be done.
You can be an ally just by loving the person you know who is gay or transgender. I, and like so many other gay and transgender people, have been confused and depressed for much of my life because I was afraid of what would happen if I became gay.
You are welcome to our Pride Parades as long as you make sure you leave us a seat at your table when all is said and done.
Chase Congleton is a summer journalism intern at Stillwater News Press.