Pride month

In this blog, our Accounts Manager and member of the LGBTQ+ community, talks about Pride month and what it really means. Although the recognition of gender and sexually diverse people exists nowadays, there's much we all can do as a society to include and normalize diversity.

In this article I will talk about Pride month and what it means. I think this is important because although our country has come a long way in recognition of the existence of LGBTQ+ people in our communities, there is a lot of misinformation about it. All too often Facebook tells us about people who believe that Pride is about converting or grooming children into homosexuality or that our society is becoming obsessed with identity politics, but these arguments really ignore the reality, that people are gay, trans, gender diverse, bi, or even just different, that they don’t fit into the boxes that many people believe the world revolves around.

It's only recently that Pride became something of a celebration, the original Pride is attributed to the Stonewall Riots or uprising which occurred following a raid by police of a gay nightclub called the Stonewall Inn in New York City. At the time, being gay was illegal in both New Zealand and the USA. There are many gay men still alive today who remember hiding in the toilets of a gay club here in New Zealand as police kicked down the doors and arrested people for simply being someone who society didn’t want to exist. The raid of the Stonewall Inn resulted in an outpouring of anger in the NYC gay community, and they took to the streets in protest. Every year following the event, protests commemorating the raids spread throughout the United States and the world as gay people everywhere assert their right to exist and to protest the relentless brutal attacks and hatred from police, lawmakers and the public towards them.

Since then both the USA and New Zealand have come a long way and being gay is no longer illegal. In New Zealand, most gay men and women can live a normal life thanks to the continued and ongoing fight for these people to get the same rights to security and safety as everyone else. No longer do people have to live in fear, although much fear still exists, especially in the older generation of the community who have often been forced to live half-lives, often entering a heterosexual marriage and having kids to hide themselves and who they are from the world. The recognition of the existence of gender and sexually diverse people has expanded to normalize that there are so many ways that a person can experience sexuality and gender, and I mention here the trans and gender diverse community who are only just today getting their Stonewall moment and gaining the recognition and freedom from discrimination and hatred that they deserve.

I would like to say that the fight is over, but what we have seen from recent events in the USA is that this fight will never be over, as republican lawmakers have attempted to remove books from school libraries which educate kids about gender or sexual diversity. They say that this is to protect children from being brainwashed into being gay or trans, but this is just not true. Speaking from experience, I knew that I was gay when I was 12 years old, as the other boys in my year group went through puberty and started having attraction to girls, I found myself being exclusively attracted to the same sex instead. I tried to brainwash myself into being straight, I was alone, confused, and afraid. I had to sit on the couch next to my dad in the evening and hear him ranting about how disgusting gay people were and how outrageous it was that they could get a civil union then. I spent a lot of time thinking that everyone I loved and the people who were meant to love me, my family and my friends, would all disown me if they knew my secret. Can you even begin to imagine what that would feel or what that would do to a 12-year-old child? Someone who is meant to be loved unconditionally by their community so they can grow up to be a well-rounded self-assured person.

If you are looking for child abuse, homophobia and transphobia are both prime candidates because whether you like it or not, trans kids and gay kids exist and they need our protection and our support against the grown men and women who have never had to face the experience that those kids face every day. Ultimately, those children have more courage and strength in every bone in their body than a homophobe or transphobe ever will have.

In the end, this all springs from the simple reality that we are all born equal, our race, our gender, our sexuality, our culture, these are facts of who we are, and no person, government or society can take who we areaway from us.

- Andrew Lamont, Accounts Manager at Trinity