(Commentary) LGBTQ+ Pride Month: The fight for respect and dignity is ongoing

  • Published
  • Hill AFB Pride Committee

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, a celebration of how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans have strengthened the country.

This year’s theme across the Department of Defense is: “All Together”

The fight for respect and dignity in the LGBTQ+ community has been ongoing for decades:

From the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969, to today’s social revolution for equality, we have seen what progression looks like. We have seen where we started, and what it has taken for the LGBTQ+ community to gain a foothold in the mountainous climb for rights. Without victimizing our own community, it has been a waiting game that spans over a time period of decades, married with protests, political action, court cases, prevention of violent/non-violent discriminatory acts, and best of all, lives saved. And it has all been made possible by the advocates and activists that were [and are] passionate about doing one thing: elevating pride.

Over the years, the concept “activism” has taken on many forms, being the catalyst in the fight for equality. However, it has been within recent years that there has been a decline in said activism. And especially in our current day and age, activism for social progress has taken a backseat due to the negative stigma that it has [unfortunately] been slapped with. Anymore, protests are synonymous with violence and extremism, the political pull that the LGBTQ+ community has gripped tightly onto has been eclipsed by special interests that view our community as nothing more than an after-thought, and we seem to be retrograding back to a time when discrimination is getting its second breath.

To throttle back on activism is to kill the speed of progression, to oppress the future. As history has proven time and time again, social progression is inevitable. Through Women’s Suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr., the legalization of inter-racial marriage, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, equal representation for the disabled, the Women’s March, and the fight for the transgender community (just to name a few), the betterment of society, and the benefit of the future has always been the end-goal. It is for this reason that activism is so vital and essential for everyone, not just the communities directly affected by these movements.

Without the revolutionary act of activism, injustice and prejudice would fan the flames of hard-hitting misrepresentation, hate, inequality, exclusion, and violence – women wouldn’t be able to hold official and executive positions in high institutions; individuals with disabilities would still be viewed as incompetent, placated, and paid less in the workplace than their non-disabled counterparts; our present-day gender revolution would not exist; racial segregation would be a normality; the fight for equal pay for all genders would have been snuffed out before it even began; and the LGBTQ+ community would still be frowned upon and viewed as a mere unfortunate human deviation of society.

We invite you all to join us for the following events:

June 2

Hill AFB Pride Committee invites you to join us for our annual Pride Month Open Panel from 1-2:30 p.m. via Zoom. The purpose of this panel will be to lend perspective on the LGBTQ+ experience, educate people about equal rights movement, and create awareness. The Zoom link was sent to Team Hill via email.

June 9

The Team Hill Special Observance Committee will host a virtual briefing with Brianna Russ, AFMC Resource Strategic Advisor, at 1 p.m. (Mountain Time) via Zoom. Russ’s area of expertise is on LGBTQ+ inclusion. Russ sits on both the Department of the Air Force and the AFMC LGBTQ+ Initiatives Team, as well as working groups specifically targeting gender identity inclusion. The Zoom link was sent to Team Hill via email.

June 10

Join the Hill AFB Pride Committee at 5 p.m. for a movie night at the Airman Recreation Center located in building 524. Email hillafbpride2021@gmail.com for details.

June 30

A “save the date” from the Team Hill Special Observance Committee for an LGBTQ+ Mentoring Town Hall at 1 p.m. (Mountain Time) via Zoom. The details and Zoom link will be sent to Team Hill via email.

As individuals of the Hill AFB Pride Committee, we have seen what injustice looks like, and what it can do to polarize and disrupt social progression. We have come to realize long before now, that injustice doesn’t have a name, a face, a socio-economic status, a skin color, an age, or gender. However, what we have come realize is that through this revolutionary act of activism, we are enabled to end hatred and social stagnation.

We are here as advocates, for those out there who feel as though they don’t have a voice. We are here as a community that you can lean on for support, or perhaps for those who fear coming out and being open without repercussions, or being ostracized. We are here to silence the violence. We are here to stay, because above all, we are passionate about reaching the pinnacle of our climb for equality. We are passionate for “Pride, Elevated.”