For the past few years, every June, the Internet runs rampant with the colors of the rainbow to celebrate Pride Month. Companies from all over the USA rebrand their logos, painting them the color of the pride flag. However, while the Internet may seem to portray such a colorful acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, homophobia still runs deep within the country.
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states. However, less than a year later, the deadliest mass shooting in the US occurred. Pulse, a gay nightclub located in Orlando, Florida, was targeted by a security guard, who took the life of 49 people and injured 53. LGBTQ+ hate crimes have risen since 2014. Nearly 1 in 5 hate crimes are motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias, according to an NBC News article. Why is it, that after such a long time since same-sex marriage has been legalized, that hate crime towards LGBTQ is still rising? To answer that question: miseducation.
Several hate groups in the US have formed, such as the Westboro Baptist Church. The Westboro Baptist Church is well known for its flagrant hate speech, not just towards LGBTQ+ people, but towards other minority groups as well. Church members carry signs in their frequent protests, with phrases such as “YOU’RE GOING TO HELL”, “SAME-SEX MARRIAGE DOOMS NATIONS”, and “NOT ADAM & STEVE”. Hate groups such as these have formed all across America, spreading misinformation towards the uninformed. This leads to hate crime, such as LGBTQ+ people being jumped in the streets, bullying in school, and abuse at home.
In contrast, LGBTQ+ people around the country have planned pride parades, attended by members of the gay community, allies, and those who wish to learn. In June of 2019, a friend of mine attended the Chicago Pride Parade, and was kind enough to send me a few pictures she took so that I could edit it, one of which is the featured image of this post.
Pride parades cause no harm to others, spreading awareness and happiness, whereas protests cause deaths, injuries, and misinformation. While progress has been made, proper education about the LGBTQ+ community in the US is still needed, as can be seen by the protests held by hate groups. In many schools in the US, GSA clubs, or Gender-Sexuality clubs, have risen up to spread knowledge about the community. Implementation of clubs like these help spread awareness about the importance of pride parades, as well as the importance of LGBTQ+ rights in the USA.