Wichita Shows Its Pride
If you had driven down Douglas in Delano around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 30, you would have come across hundreds of people marching down the sidewalks wearing bright colors, proudly displaying rainbow and pink, blue and white flags and wielding signs that all stood for one universal message: we are ALL human.
The Start of National Pride Month
In 2009, President Barack Obama marked June as National Pride Month in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots. While Wichita celebrates Pride Month in September, there were still LGBT+ centric events that happened throughout the city during June. One of those events was the “Equality March for Unity and Pride.” A march hosted by the Wichita Pride organization and The Monarch.
The Struggle the LGBT Community Faces
All across America and the globe, LGBT+ individuals are faced with unfair treatment by the government and people who do not understand the LGBT+ community. Instead of ignoring what they don’t know or become educated, they fight it with disrespectful actions, slurs and unfortunately, physical action. While America has moved forward with the legalization of same-sex marriage 2015 and the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 2011, events like the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida and President Trump’s desire to ban transgender people from the military prove that we are not all on the same page.
Many LGBT+ do not feel safe in their environment, leaving them to feel uncomfortable in their own skin. According to Human Rights Campaign, 42% of LGBT+ youth live in a community that they consider to be unaccepting.1 Some youth are disowned by their families and forced to become homeless, and others suffer from mental illness brought on by the stresses and hardships. In 2015, it was reported that 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide, 95% of those being under the age of 25.2
Why Pride Matters
The LGBT+ community showing its pride is important to Wichita because it harbors hope and promotes strength and inclusion in a state where it’s legal to fire an individual for their sexuality.
There were a variety of types of people at the march of different ethnicities and ages ranging from 2 to 90. Children were brought out with their families to show them that every person matters. Parents donned “Proud Mom” and “Proud Dad” shirts. One mother stated that it was her families first pride march, that her daughter had recently come out and that she supported her 100%.
It is important that the LGBT+ community in Wichita, including allies, show their love and acceptance for themselves and others like them. To send a message that we all deserve to have the same rights, respect and love. It is extremely necessary to send this message to our youth, because closets are for clothes and every person deserves to be themselves. Even if their families do not agree, there is a place for them in the LGBT+ community.
The love was in abundance in Wichita on Saturday. Thank you to Wichita Pride and The Monarch for hosting and organizing this march.
1 Human Rights Campaign. “Growing Up LGBT in America: View and Share Statistics.” Human Rights Campaign, www.hrc.org/youth-report/view-and-share-statistics.
2 James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.