Monday, June 7, 2010

So, am I proud to be gay?

Gay Pride - A Message from Betty Hill, Ex. Dir. of Pittsburgh's Persad Center, the nation’s second oldest licensed counseling center specifically created to serve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community.

During the month of June in the Pittsburgh region, we will celebrate Gay Pride. There are many events scheduled that will bring visibility to the GLBT community. Persad will be participating in an Advocacy Rally, Pride in the Streets, the Pride March and Pride Fest. In addition, Persad is sponsoring several youth activities including a dance and a picnic. A complete list of activities planned can be found at

So, am I proud to be gay? It seems like a strange question. It’s like asking if I’m proud to have blue eyes. It’s really not an option – it is simply a given. I am gay. It wasn’t something I planned. In some religious traditions, pride is a sin. It is right up there with arrogance and other forms of narcissism. So why do we celebrate Pride?

Pride is to counter all of the messages of Shame that are put upon the GLBT community. It says we will not accept Shame and Discrimination. Gay Pride is an effort to combat all of the ways that the community is made invisible and excluded. This year’s Pride theme is “You Belong”. It demonstrates the strengths and positive qualities of the community and acknowledges our significant contributions in the world.

I AM proud of our local GLBT community. I’m proud of our friends at Delta Foundation who have made Pride a significant event in the City of Pittsburgh and who have recently begun a political advocacy project that will help bring about change. I’m proud of our Gay and Lesbian Community Center that moved this year into downtown space that provides a safe place for groups to meet. I’m proud of our youth from Dreams of Hope who are moving audiences to realize the impact of discrimination. I’m proud that there are a variety of social groups that bring the community together like G2H2, Lez Liquors, Prime Timers, the bowling league and other sports groups, and GLEC. I’m proud of GLSEN and their push to teach students and teachers to make schools safe for everyone – this year providing more training programs than ever. I’m proud of the Initiative for Transgender Leadership for creating a significant internship experience for transgender youth. And, of course, I’m proud of Persad Center and our work to improve the well being of our community.

There’s a lot of positive energy and talented GLBT people working in Western Pennsylvania and making a difference. Working together we can put an end to ignorance, discrimination and shame. Happy Pride!

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