Guest written by André Wade, Silver State Equality State Director
In 2021, Pride month was celebrated like it has never been before. The rainbow flag, the beloved symbol of the LGBTQ+ community, was everywhere, on TV, on social media or visible on signs and businesses while just driving down the street. Corporations added the rainbow flag to their logos, commercials on television amplified Pride month, and many organizations, like RTC, held Pride month educational sessions for their staff. Personally, the conversations I had this year with organizations uplifting Pride month were profoundly different. More and more, questions centered around what others could do to authentically support the LGBTQ+ community.
If I had to categorize how to best support the LGBTQ+ community, I would point to three buckets: Acceptance, Allyship, and Education.
Acceptance. Ultimately, people who identify as LGBTQ+ want to be accepted for who they are. We don’t want to be discriminated against — we don’t want to be tolerated — we just want to be accepted. It is not our desire to have our identities be divisive or seen as some sort of social statement. We simply want the freedom to exist and access resources and spaces regardless of our identities.
Allyship. We recognize that it takes the support of our allies, those outside of the LGBTQ+ community who support the LGBTQ+ community, to help bring about more acceptance. Allies are not superheroes here to save us, but they are sidekicks who have taken the time to educate themselves on the LGBTQ+ community so that they can be supportive by creating welcoming and inclusive environments, donating to LGBTQ+ organizations, and/or speaking up when they hear or see someone being mistreated because of who they are.
Education. There are many online resources, people in the community, and even people whom you may know, who can provide you with more information on the LGBTQ+ community. Just keep in mind that the experiences and perspectives of individuals within the LGBTQ+ community vary greatly. For example, someone may say they don’t like the use of the word queer, while another may say that they identify as queer. No one is right – no one is wrong. The person in front of you is the expert. So, as you learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, my best advice is to stay open and humble as you learn from others.
Fortunately, there are many LGBTQ+ organizations in Southern Nevada that serve as resources and places of support. Silver State Equality, for which I am the State Director, is Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization that brings the voices of LGBTQ+ people to the institutions of power by passing pro-equality legislation, getting pro-equality candidates elected to office, and advocating on LGBTQ+ issues, while educating the greater community. There is also the LGBTQ+ Community Center of Southern Nevada, Gender Justice, TransPride, and Pride Tree. All these organizations work collaboratively to bring about equality in our community.
Thank you RTC of Southern Nevada for uplifting Pride during the month of June and beyond.