What Pride Month Means to LGBTQ+ Students

Rebecca+Cardoso%2C+freshman%2C+in+the+library+on+Wednesday%2C+June+5th%2C+after+a+GSA+meeting.+
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What Pride Month Means to LGBTQ+ Students

Rebecca Cardoso, freshman, in the library on Wednesday, June 5th, after a GSA meeting.

Rebecca Cardoso, freshman, in the library on Wednesday, June 5th, after a GSA meeting.

Sydney Haulenbeek

Rebecca Cardoso, freshman, in the library on Wednesday, June 5th, after a GSA meeting.

Sydney Haulenbeek

Sydney Haulenbeek

Rebecca Cardoso, freshman, in the library on Wednesday, June 5th, after a GSA meeting.

Sydney Haulenbeek, Editor in Chief

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June is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month in America, and a time during which LGBT Pride events commence in recognition of the LGBTQ+ fight for rights in the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, which were the beginning of the LGBTQ+ pride movement. Most LGBT people call this month Pride month, or simply Pride.

 

James Hanan, who is Co-President of Kempsville’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), and a gay male, said that he thinks Pride is incredibly important.

 

“It’s significant because pride is all about showing how far we have come. LGBT members don’t get a lot of representation and [in] June, not only do we get representation, but it’s good representation. Usually, if LGBT news is on the news it’s talking about, for example, the Orlando Shooting. You don’t really hear much about the community unless it’s bad. But during Pride you get to hear good news about how far the community has come, and how we’re still going.

 

For Hanan, Pride means getting to celebrate the leaps that the LGBTQ+ community has come.

 

“The community has worked hard for many, many years to be seen as equals, and Pride is celebrating that work, and celebrating that community,” he said. “I feel like, like a GSA, Pride is a safe place for people to go to. It’s a very great, great experience to have; you’re just surrounded by happiness and love where ever you go.”

 

Hanan also spoke of a memorable experience attending Pride last year, of moms who were giving LGBTQ+ kids hugs.

 

Sydney Haulenbeek
James Hanan, co-president of KHS’ GSA, in the library after a GSA meeting on Wednesday, June 5th, where he discussed plans for PrideFest and a Pride Prom.

“One of my favorite parts of it is probably the free mom hugs because you just have ladies who were… sweating up a storm, offering free hugs, and you know, you’d think ‘ew you don’t want a hug from a sweaty lady,’ but they just looked like they loved you and they really really cared about you, and you took that hug because you were already sweaty. It’s just a really great experience.”

 

Something else he found memorable about Pride was a history memorial that the Hamptons Roads PrideFest had in 2018.

 

“They had this …history section, where you could really just read about the history of how far the LGBT rights movement has come,” he said. “And for me, that was really amazing.”

 

When it comes to classes, and in school, Hanan says he has never been taught about LGBTQ+ history and doesn’t see it in textbooks.

 

“They never talk about the LGBT rights movement,” Hanan said. “And while, yes, I understand that it is sort of ‘well, you talk about civil rights in your history class,’ it’s still a part of history, you know? In US History we learned all the way up to Bill Clinton, and I know that the Stonewall movement was a part of history that we just … brushed over in our classes.”

 

For LGBTQ+ people, Pride provides not only the freedom of expression but also the opportunity to learn about their past. The largest annual LGBT festival in Virginia, Norfolk PrideFest, plans this year to host a history and equality area commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

 

For Rebecca Cardoso, a KHS freshman and pansexual female, Pride means many things, but it comes down to self expression.

 

“Pride means showing that you aren’t afraid to be yourself,” Cardoso said. “That you’re happy with yourself, and you won’t let people change that about you. I think it’s important for us to show that we are comfortable with ourselves, and show others that might not accept us that we’re still going to be here, even if they don’t like us. We will fight them!” she said, laughing.

 

Cardoso emphasized the importance of the environment Pride brings to LGBTQ+ lives.

 

“It’s important to know that we aren’t alone. That we have a community, so we don’t feel repressed,” she said. “No one really represses straight people. They have pride in themselves pretty much every day; people reaffirm their sexuality all the time.”

 

Both Hanan and Cardoso plan to attend Pride events this year, and Hanan is working with VBCPS GSAs to create a Pride Prom for LGBTQ+ students towards the end of June.