Pride Month Recap: Celebrating Love, Embracing Unity, and Reflecting on Progress

Happy Pride Month, y’all! Pride is all about celebrating the love, unity, and rich history of our LGBTQIA+ community. With amazing events, touching stories, and impactful advocacy efforts, we’ve truly captured what makes Pride so special.

Origins of Pride

The first Pride celebrations can be traced back to June 28, 1970, when thousands of LGBTQIA+ people gathered to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and demonstrate for equal rights. This tradition has evolved into the Pride we know today: a celebration of love, an expression of unity, and a safe space for all. 

Why is Pride still important today?

Because hateful people continue to try to erase our LGBTQIA+ community through cruel legislation, intimidation, censorship, and other insidious means.

“Pride means being your complete and authentic self. Pride month is a celebration for those who are out, wanting to come out, and those who were never able to. Every year we continue to celebrate is proof that we’re here, queer, and never letting hate take over.”
— Mel Leblanc, Texas Rising Senior Regional Program Coordinator – Central Texas, on what Pride means to them

According to Equality Texas, 141 anti-LGBTQIA+ “bad bills” were filed in the 2023 Texas Legislative Session. Among these was SB 14, which banned life-saving gender-affirming care for transgender youth. In the next legislative session, we expect to see another wave of these anti-LGBTQIA+ bills, with the most vulnerable members of our community at risk.

In public schools all across Texas, LGBTQIA+ books are being removed from lessons and libraries due to orchestrated attacks from far-right school boards and community members. These bans hurt LGBTQIA+ students by erasing their stories, leaving them without access to the representation and encouragement they need to feel accepted and valued. 

These are just a couple of examples of the many ways the far right is going after LGBTQIA+ Texans, simply for being, and expressing, who they are. 

With so many constant attacks, it’s important to remind ourselves what we’re fighting for: each other. Community is our strength and our purpose. Pride Month allows us to come together to celebrate our wins, grieve our losses, be visible, and inspire each other to keep pushing forward. 

How did TFN celebrate Pride this year?

Amid Texas’ vibrant culture, we’re here to celebrate the history, achievements, and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our Texas Rising program hosted and participated in an incredible and diverse lineup of events that were all about amplifying LGBTQIA+ voices, spreading love, and pushing for a more inclusive and accepting Texas. At these events, we also stressed the importance of civic engagement and registered people to vote.

“Voting is so important because it determines the future of Texas as well as America. It helps ensure that the government reflects the community and promotes equality, justice, and democracy.”
— Anissa Mancias, Texas Rising Campus Organizer, on the importance of voting

Texas Rising Central Texas Advocacy and Field Organizer Maggie DiSanza conducted a voter registration drive at Happy Clouds Smoke Shop off North Lamar with the goal of reaching voters who might exist outside the typical political sphere. 

“I love doing events like this at local businesses because I feel like we interact with folks who aren’t necessarily immediately civically engaged.”
— Maggie DiSanza, Texas Rising Central Texas Advocacy and Field Organizer

The Little Gay Shop had a Pride celebration full of sunshine, laughter, great food, and LGBTQIA+-owned businesses, with plenty of vendors and shops selling the coolest Pride merch in town. 

“Pride is a celebration of all the hardships the LGBTQIA+ community has gone through to find equality. It gives this community a sense of unity and togetherness as well as uplifts their voices.”
— Anissa Mancias, Texas Rising Campus Organizer, on what Pride means to her

What you can do

“I hope for a world of radical acceptance and happiness for the LGBTQIA+ community. I hope for people to feel safe, validated, and secure in their sexuality and identity. Lastly, I hope for the nonsense attacks from people and legislators on the LGBTQIA+ community to end promptly.
— Mel Leblanc, Texas Rising Senior Regional Program Coordinator – Central Texas

Pride Month serves as a reminder of our collective power for change; past, present, and future. 

In addition to continuing to support TFN, Texas Rising, and our Just Texas faith engagement program, here’s what you can do to support the fight for equality:

Get involved with LGBTQIA+ advocacy organizations! If you don’t have one locally, make one! Every organization has big and small ways to get involved. Whether it’s fundraising, volunteering at events, or just hanging out, organizing within your community is an immensely rewarding and impactful experience. 

It takes a village, so here are some other fantastic organizations we partner with that are putting in the work to advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community in Texas and beyond: 

Stay up to date so that you can contact your legislators and make your voice heard! If you haven’t already, sign up for TFN’s email updates and let us know you’re interested in LGBTQIA+ equality so that we can keep you updated and send opportunities to advocate.

Pride Month is more than just a celebration — it’s a powerful reminder of the progress we have made toward true equality and the work that is still ahead. It is a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of our LGBTQIA+ community, acknowledge the trailblazers who have paved the way, and recommit to creating a world where everyone can live openly and authentically. Be proud of yourself and and LGBTQIA+ community’s accomplishments and history. You’ll find that there’s more than enough to celebrate. 

Happy Pride Month, Texas! We made it a month to remember. And count on this: in June and year-round, TFN will continue to celebrate and advocate until every LGBTQIA+ Texan can safely live as their fullest self.

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