Lucy Caroff (Freshman)
For every June since 1970, Pride month has been a celebration. The organizers of this year’s Pittsburgh Pride parade on Saturday June fourth made it very clear that Pride Month is more than that. It’s not just a parade, it’s a protest. Pride Month is a symbol of how much further we can go.
Pride Month has always been thought of as a staple in the LGBTQ+ community. It is considered a right of passage for young people in the community to experience. Talynn Allen, a freshman at Obama Academy says, “It shows how far we have come…and our unity.”
Pride gives queer people a platform and the ability to speak up about their rights. Events like the parade are “a visual representation of the community,” says Izabel, a student at Colfax, It can mean a lot to students who don’t see that acceptance and appreciation year-round.
Is Pride Month enough? Just 30 days of visibility? Many students believe it is not. “We need it all year, not just Pride month,” Kait, a student from Colfax, emphasizes. Students are feeling unheard and underrepresented. When the government and corporations don’t care until June comes by, it appears superficial. Some companies even profit by slapping the pride logo onto products.
This isn’t just a national problem, this is local. Students want change, not just at state and federal levels, but in their communities. Only talking about these matters once a year feels disingenuous. “Pride should not be annual…we are not queer annually,” a student from Obama remarks.
Students feel as though schools are barely doing anything to support their LGBTQ+ pupils. This has led to many feeling unheard and unrecognized. Some are even dealing with the consequences of others’ lack of education on the matter. “I should not go to school just to be bullied by students or my teachers,” Izabel says. Schools use terms like “safe space,” but students feel they are falling short on actually delivering said “safe space.” “They don’t actually do anything…there’s no support,” Talynn says. It leaves some students wondering whether their schools actually care at all. “There’s just a lot of ignorance,” Izabel says. Students want more representation and awareness year round.
It may need some work, but Pride month is still a celebration. Many students are able to show their joy and feel better represented this month. For some it’s a time of year that they finally feel recognized. It builds and reveals the community. “It’s hard to know yourself if you don’t know someone like you,” Talynn says. Pride gives young people the ability to find themselves in other people around them. Pittsburgh Pride is going strong this June with parades, marches, and protests. The LGBTQ+ community is lighting a path for students. “Pride gives me hope.” says Izabel.