The designation of June as LGBTQ+ Pride month sometimes seems like a misnomer to me. True, I know all too well how difficult it is for many in our community to feel proud of who they are. In an age when the U.S. President routinely attacks transgender military service members; when over 20 states still make it entirely legal to fire someone on the sole basis of his/her sexual orientation; when queer youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual youth, having one month to celebrate our humanity hardly seems sufficient.
And yet for me, LGBTQ+ Love seems to be a better name for it. My experience of Pride has always been as a celebration of love. Love of self, and parity for same-sex love—but also just love. Projecting love out into a world in which it is often sorely lacking.
That’s what’s most disappointing about some of the hateful reactions some people have to Pride Month. It’s not just that these people feel so strongly against the LGBTQ+ community, but that they have such little love for themselves. Whoever vandalized the banner for Fairfield County’s Pride in the Park this week is someone who needs to be loved. People who are full of love do not go around trying to steal others’ joy. Such acts of vandalism are born of a brokenness, an emptiness, a desperate need to feel loved.
This is what inspires me in my role as an openly gay public servant. Even when we disagree, it’s vital that we respect each other’s humanity. Anger begets anger. Hate begets hate. Love begets love.
So this Pride Month, let’s all find inspiration wherever we can to spread love into the world. On Saturday, at Fairfield County Pride in the Park, we will remember that first Pride, fifty years ago at Stonewall, and we will celebrate the amazing progress we have made towards LGBTQ+ equality, and the progress we have yet to make. And we will do so with love for every human being, no matter how you identify, and especially for those who need it so much that they choose to lash out.
The writer is an At-large Member of the Norwalk Common Council and a board member of the Triangle Community Center.