It’s Pride Month here in the Bay Area and many other cities around the country. Once again, we have no shortage of events and accomplishments from this past year to celebrate. This last year has been monumental in many ways with the fall of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and President Obama’s recent support for marriage equality. These are two historical events in our rapidly evolving civil rights movement. It might be hard to realize how far we have come unless you are able to look back at where our community has been. Take a look…
We could certainly choose be bitter about a lot of issues and setbacks this year including the fact that the majority of states now have constitutional amendments prohibiting marriage equality. We are still loosing young people to suicide because of the rejection they experience from their families and the bullying they suffer at school. The courts seem to be moving at less than a snail’s pace on the appeal of California’s Proposition 8 despite a ruling from a federal district judge saying clearly that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. We don’t yet have employment protection in most states preventing the wrongful termination of an employee simply because of who they are. Yes, we still have a long way to go, but I ask you all to consider what we have achieved this year and to be proud of who you are, especially during this season of gay pride.
This year we will once again be marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade with our colleagues from the San Francisco Police Department’s Pride Alliance. While we still have a lot of homophobia to fight within law enforcement, I’m particularly proud of the fact that two officers from two other Bay Area police departments who have never marched before have been given enthusiastic support from their chiefs to march in full uniform. They will represent their departments proudly for the first time in the pride parade. Joining us will be one of my police academy students who came out to his class, in front of his class, and received and standing ovation of support. These are the victories you won’t read about in the national news, but are the ones that are a great sign that change is happening.
If you have never participated in a pride celebration because you are not out, I challenge you to step out and experience what gay pride is all about. Go as a spectator. There is something amazing about walking among hundreds and thousands of other people who are just like you. Find a pride celebration near you and check it out. I hope the collective enthusiasm and energy encourages you to hide no longer and to make this the year you come out. We are all waiting for you. Happy Pride 2012!
Need more reasons to have pride, check out The Advocate magazine’s 181 reasons to have pride in 2012.