"Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ community
and to bring awareness of our struggle for equal rights."
The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred early on the morning of Saturday, 28 June 1969, in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 54 Christopher Street in New York City. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons and drag queens rioted in anger at police harassment. This riot lasted for days and is the watershed moment for the LGBTQ rights movement and the impetus for organizing pride events.
WHAT IS PRIDE TO YOU?
Accepting people for who they are
Pride means that every LGBTQ person can show the world who they really are without fear or shame and claim themselves an asset to society. Pride is showing people it is time to catch up with progressives and accept all people for who they truly are. Personally, Pride means having two sons, one straight and one gay, and expecting society to treat them equally. - Nancy Mullen
Erasing what divides us
I was recently asked “What is Space Coast Pride about and what do you do”. I actually welcomed the opportunity to answer this question and wanted to share it with you. So, let's go beyond the buzzwords like unity, diversity, and inclusion and dig deeper.
When I first came to Florida I was a newbie and discovered the gay bar in the small city where I lived. I was blown away by what I saw: gay, lesbian, trans, black, white, and Latino, out and on the down low – all coming together. Maybe I am romanticizing the past, but now sometimes gay men and lesbians don't get along. Sometimes neither understand transgender people. Then there are racial divides. And finally, we sometimes don't recognize the efforts of the straight community to join with us.
Space Coast Pride wants to bring us together and erase these divides. We also know that being open, honest and being visible is key to this goal. And we know you want to have a big party once in a while. Hell, I know I do!
We support open, inclusive spaces like weekly coffee socials. We support PFLAG to help our youth. We support local HIV service organizations and groups aiming to end gender discrimination. We support marriage equality and families of all kinds.
And, lastly, we know we are doing this in a very conservative area. This is not Ft Lauderdale or Key West. We need to come together to be heard and make our case. - Clayton Richardson
The true face of the LGBTQ community
Growing up in the sixties and early seventies as a child I had no reference points of who I was and what or how I fit into the greater society. From the time I was about eight years old I knew I was different, but just exactly what that meant would not reveal itself to me until later. As I entered my early teens, the realization of who I was and what that meant became apparent. The walls and mechanisms to cope with that went up. It was a lonely and isolating time for me. I withdrew from the unaccepting world around me and dark thoughts began to creep into my mind. All that I saw around me and even in the media of the day, which reported on the beginnings of the gay rights movement in NYC, did nothing for me. What I saw in the media was not like me. It was “the flamboyant, the obvious”, and I didn’t see myself among that crowd. As a result I didn’t fit into either group, which isolated me even more - until one day I almost did the unthinkable.
Since those darker times, I’ve grown and worked through all those psychological demons. Along with all those brave souls that stepped out of the shadows so early and changed the face of what it meant to be gay, my world began to change and my strength grew. As I began to come out to family and friends, I asked an acquaintance of mine that worked with Zebra House in Orlando "What can I do to make sure the next generation does not have to go through what I did?" His answer confused me at first and then he explained. He asked "Are you out to your family, at your work, and with your friends?" When I replied that I was starting to do so, he told me "you already are making a difference". When I asked what he meant by this, his answer was as profound as it was simple. By you coming out to your family, friends and co-workers you are forever and profoundly changing the face of the gay community in their minds. It will never be the same again. They will never hear the word "gay" and think of any one stereotype again.
So, Pride to me is that ever-changing face of the gay community. We are forever and profoundly changing the world’s perception of who we are, all while integrating into and becoming a part of the greater family of humanity! - Richard Chiarelli
Being a whole, complete person
All my life, I have had to hide in the shadows. Alone. All my life I could not be open as to who I really was. All my life I had to live in fear, trepidation, anxiety and loneliness. All my life I could not be whole.
I could not share my true self. And if I dared, I would suffer the consequences: ostracism, isolation, prejudice, blackmail, emotional and physical beatings. And I am one of the lucky ones. Today I can be whole and no longer have to hide in the shadows for fear of discovery and being outed to my detriment.
Pride means the world to me, my world, my new world of being complete, whole, in openness and honesty. To be accepted for better or worse as a person - someone's daughter, sister, aunt, and not someone different or inconsequential. Pride has removed my fears, my trepidations and has allowed me the freedom every person should have to be who they are, a whole, happy person. As long as I live, I will continue to help those who are not yet as fortunate to be out and free. I will be there to say "you are ok, you are whole, you are loved".
Pride will always matter until the day there are no repercussions for being different.
Space Coast Pride provides that bridge to those who cannot reach their true destination yet. I will help to continue to bridge that gap for all lost souls who yearn to be loved and accepted for who they are, the way God made all of us. - Rose Rubino
I'm sick and tired of people being hurt
My baby brother John was gay. I watched him being hurt and unhappy all my life. I watched his struggle trying to fit in as a straight man in high school, forcing himself to date girls. This was the 1960's when there was no choice to be who you were - the repercussions were too severe to be out, so severe that my brother even attempted suicide.
He lost his struggle to fit in by pretending to be straight, and finally went out to gay bars. There he would often be beaten up when he left. My husband and I would go rescue him and bring him home. Seeing him beaten up and left in the street was painful for me - seeing his face smashed and bruised. It left even deeper emotional scars for him and all of us. We never talked about any of this. It was obviously too painful, the subject was taboo and not to be discussed.
But he was my brother. I had to be there for him. The world was against him. He was a quiet, conservative guy, a social worker who loved helping people. No one was there to help him.
He finally escaped to San Francisco where he could be free, whole and happy. He was in a long term relationship until his partner died of AIDS. Then I lost my baby brother five years later to the disease. I miss him.
I'm involved with Space Coast Pride because I want to help everybody to be equal. I'm sick and tired of people being hurt simply because of who they are. I enjoy seeing the smiles on people's faces at Pride - a place where everyone can be equal, happy, and belong, a place of safety for all. I like seeing the joy Pride brings to people, the smiles on their faces, a place where no one is being made fun of, no snide remarks, no one being hurt.
I want everybody to be treated as equal and no longer being hurt for simply being who they are. - Barb McPeek