To me, Pride Month is a time for reflection. It is a time to remember LGBTQIA+ history and to honor those who fought—and continue to fight—tirelessly for equality in the face of hate and intolerance. In 2022 alone, lawmakers have introduced more than 300 anti-LGBT bills at the state level and nationwide, largely targeting transgender youth. Our community owes a debt to our queer BIPOC- and trans- communities that laid the groundwork, created Pride, and made it a riot at Stonewall in 1969. Since then courageous LGBTQIA+ folx have continued to fight for our right to exist. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. Not only do we face legal battles, but we also cannot forget individuals who face social and environmental battles every day.
We must also take time to celebrate what makes our community special—our diversity, vibrancy, acceptance, and love—and the progress we have made as a movement. Pride Month presents a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves of all we have to celebrate and as a reminder to continue to fight for the diversity, equity, and inclusivity initiatives that are so important to our community.
I have seen so much change in my life, both personal and legal. I remember when I came out in high school, and the first teacher who accepted me. I remember coming out to my parents and feeling extremely lucky because my mom made a joke to clearly indicate she had no problem with who I was—my dad by her side. I remember attending college in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the supportive LGBTQIA+ community that welcomed me. I remember when Barack Obama was first elected, and we flooded the streets with the rest of the students at University of Michigan. I remember hearing that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed, reading that the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed, listening to the decision in US v. Windsor, and watching the decision for Obergefell v. Hodges, during which I was glued to the television, trying to study for the bar. I also remember the first law school professor, partner at my law firm, and associate at my law firm that I encountered who accepted me. I remember being able to marry my wife however, as our wedding was one month ago, the fact that I remember that is not too remarkable.
I have many great memories, and those memories could not exist without the continued support I have been extremely humbled to receive. All of these memories create, encourage, and embody Pride for me. I know that many others in my community have not had the same experience, and many communities experience discrimination regularly based on their pronouns, ability status, location, family, school, color, race, ethnicity, language, gender identity, gender expression, socio-economic status, immigration status, sexual orientation, and the list continues. I am writing about the positive experiences I have been granted and encountered to express my Pride – and yet, with the risk of sounding redundant, we have come a long way and still have more to go. I cannot wait for the leaps we can make working together.