Summer has arrived with a bang this June! So many activities to partake in, so many events to celebrate. June also marks the kickoff and celebration of Pride across the nation. It’s the time of year when gays, lesbians, and transgender people from around the globe congregate to showcase their love and pride of simply being who they are along with honoring the influential supporters who have contributed their efforts and, in some cases, their very lives to the cause of tolerance. Joyous and extravagant as the parades may be, the true definition of pride lies within the stories and the journeys of those who have worked tirelessly to progress the GLBT civil rights movement and won the right for all people to be accepted for who they are.
It appears that being gay or lesbian is more widely accepted now than ever before. Especially with prevalent gay and lesbian idols in the current mainstream media such as Ellen DeGeneres, heartthrob actors like Zachary Quinto, and , more recently, openly gay athletes like NFL player Michael Sam. All of these public figures broke barriers for the GLBT community and gained wider acceptance for us all merely by being themselves and living honestly. That is Pride in action. When those of us in the public eye come out, it isn’t so much as a personal decision but a message to all those struggling to live the life they want to that it’s okay to be themselves. By being open, we decrease fear, hate crimes, suicide and the myriad of maladies that plague our isolated members of society when they think they are alone in their sexual identity. I am proud of of the strides we have made together as a group, but what about the transgender community specifically?
There has yet to be an iconic transgender voice in mainstream media that resonates as strongly as our out and proud gay and lesbian public personas do but there most assuredly will be soon. Recently, the presence of transgender female figures such as model Carmen Carrera, writer Janet Mock, and actress Lavern Cox, featured on the Showtime hit series “Orange is the New Black”, have increased awareness. We also see strong strides from the emerging transgender male community like Annette Bening and Warren Beatty’s son, writer Stephen Ira and, of course, the infamous Chaz Bono.
From the looks of it, the tides are changing, and I want to be a part of that wave and ensure it sweeps the land. We need our strong, stereotype shattering trans-society to stand up and be counted. I will be attending as many TS/TG pride orientated events as humanly possible this summer and will definitely be throwing my support to my hometown San Francisco Pride parade. What will you be doing to help the GLBT collective gain acceptance ? I’d love to hear! Remember: you don’t have to be famous to make a difference, you just have to be visible.