Happy Pride Month

Happy Pride Month

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! Last Tuesday, Pride Corner was unveiled at the intersection of East Grand Avenue and East Fifth Street in Des Moines’ East Village. Images on all four corners are brightly colored curving images of the Project Pride flag, celebrating the history and presence of our city’s LGBTQ community, and preparing for the beginning of the month of June – Pride Month.

Common symbols of pride are the rainbow (or Pride) flag, the Greek letter lambda, and the pink or black triangle – both reclaimed from previous use as badges of shame used in Nazi concentration camps. The original Pride flag was designed in 1978 by artist and gay rights activist Gilbert Baker, who has encouraged by friends and gay rights leader Harvey Milk to create a positive symbol the entire LGBTQIA community could utilize. A new 8-stripe flag was created in 2017, adding black and brown stripes to include diversity.

“We hope people will enjoy the beautiful art (on Pride Corner) and be reminded of how our rainbow diversity makes our community stronger and richer,” said Wes Mullins, executive director of Capital City Pride.

Capital City Pride is a nonprofit organization that brings together the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and queer community along with their friends, allies, and supporters. Its vision is to create a community that values and respects the civil rights of all people and where the contributions of LGBTQ+ people are welcomed and celebrated.

Many of us remember the night we believe began the gay rights movement in a major way: June 28,1969 was the night of the notorious Stonewall Riots, when patrons of the New York City’s Stonewall Inn rebelled against a police raid arresting men and women violating ‘cross-dressing’ laws of the day.

Citing this date as instrumental in the origins of Pride Month, the first Pride March as we know it, held the last Saturday in June, was first coined Christopher Street Liberation Day in recognition of the street address of the Stonewall Inn. Pride parades, events, and festivals are annual events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and queer (or questioning, intersex, and asexual (or allies)) achievements, legal rights, and self-respect.

Today, transgender youth are at the highest risk – nearly 6 times as likely to attempt suicide as heterosexual peers. And a new study by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ suicide prevention nonprofit organization, found that over the past 3 years, the rates of suicidal thoughts have trended upward among LGBTQ youth in America.

A 2010 social media project led to a significant source of support for LGBTQ youth and their friends and families. It Gets Better now reaches millions of young people each year with information, videos, and inspiring storytelling to share tools and resources with adolescents to help them navigate their own journeys of discovery.

Understanding gender and sexual orientation may be difficult to talk about, and we know that the political banter, as well as book bans and changes in school curriculum are removing educational opportunities for youth and their families. For Chrysalis, we believe we have a responsibility to provide education to Chrysalis After-School facilitators and high school mentors, so they are equipped to help in the event a girl expresses a need for support and assistance and make appropriate referrals when needed.