The sixth month of the year has traditionally been a time where cities around the country throw LGBTQ parades, host conferences on the topic of equal rights, and celebrate the progress we, as a nation, have made since the June 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. And, there is a lot to celebrate this year, folks.
Yesterday, President Obama officially declared June 2014 to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. This marks the sixth consecutive year Obama has honored the tradition. (Former President Bill Clinton was the first to declare June to be Pride month in the year 2000.) "As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well," Obama's announcement began. The short, but sincere announcement (available in full here) reminds us of last year's triumphant success with the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and the triumphs we have ahead — including more exposure and equal rights for the trans* community.
Just this week, Time revealed its first cover of Pride Month, which features Orange Is The New Black actress and LGBTQ activist Laverne Cox. The entire issue is dedicated to what Time — rather appropriately — calls "The Transgender Tipping Point" at which our nation has arrived, and aims to educate readers on the trans* community, the injustices it faces, and why it's the next civil rights hurdle to leap.
In addition, HBO's movie adaptation of Larry Kramer's heartwrenching, semi-autobiographical play on the early stages of the AIDS crisis, The Normal Heart, has premiered to rave reviews. Sure, Pride Month is riddled with parties and parades, but the educational purpose it serves is just as important. Ryan Murphy's movie continues the dialogue surrounding the disease and repackages it for a generation reaping the benefits he and Kramer's characters fought to preserve. The film, along with the recently launched Harvey Milk stamp, keeps the historical aspects of the next 30 days alive.
And, just today, Facebook debuted a wonderful collection of LGBTQ-themed emoticons that are free for any user to download. More than 20 stickers featuring same-sex brides and grooms, RuPaul, and PFLAG families are the social media site's way of raising its rainbow flag in celebration. "We see this as one more way we can make Facebook a place where people can express their authentic identity," Facebook's Carolyn Merrell told BuzzFeed.
And, that's exactly what Pride Month is about: honoring one's own authentic identity. Happy Pride, all.