June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month, a time when we celebrate and recognize the LGBTQ+ community. Rainbow flags come out, there are parades and events, and calls for equality and visibility for people who have often weathered discrimination and been made to feel unseen.
Pride Month honors the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which took place in New York City, an event that is recognized as a tipping point in the movement for LGBTQ+ equality. In the years that followed, people flooded the streets in cities across America to demonstrate their support. Today, citizens of countries around the world honor the anniversary of this pivotal moment each June. What started as Gay Pride Day the year after the Stonewall Uprising has become Pride Month.
While Pride Month features parades and community events, it is also a time to reflect on the importance of self-affirmation, visibility, dignity, and striving for equality. Too many LGBTQ+ individuals grow up feeling shame about who they are and whom they love. Pride is both the treatment and the antidote for that shame. Instead of carrying anxiety, guilt, and worry, it’s living mindfully and with acceptance. It’s living with hope and defiance of complacency and the status quo, in order to ensure that things can be better.
Compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, LGBTQ+ individuals are at increased risk of mental illness, suicide and addiction. The challenges and stresses associated with discrimination, coming out, and isolation as a result of rejection by family, friends or colleagues, are difficult for many people to navigate.
At Forge we celebrate the courage it takes to ask for help and to begin a journey of recovery from mental health and substance use struggles. We ensure that every client can engage in treatment in a safe environment, free of discrimination and judgment. And we understand that family is not necessarily the people with whom you grew up, it’s often the people you choose to have in your life.
Pride Month is a celebration, but it is also a reminder that it takes real bravery to be your authentic self, whether gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans, or any of the variety of gender expressions and sexualities with which someone may identify. We see you, we’re here to help, and we welcome you.