Posted by | Robyn Keiter
Why do we Pride? Pride is about celebration. It is about love and community. For me, the most important part of Pride month and Pride festivals worldwide is the visibility.
In June of 1970, on the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the first Pride marches were held in just three cities across the US. That first event saw thousands of LGBTQ+ people as they gathered to commemorate Stonewall and demonstrate for equal rights. In May 1971, one of the first organizers, Foster Gunnison Jr. said, "...And each of these 5,000 homosexuals had a new feeling of pride and self-confidence, for that was one of the main purposes of the event – to commemorate, to demonstrate, but also to raise the consciences of participating homosexuals – to develop courage, feelings of dignity and self-worth." For me, this is the importance of Pride.
I had always known I was attracted to men and women, although as a young girl, I didn’t have a word for it. I had been exposed to openly gay people in my youth, but I knew I didn’t fully fit into the “gay” or “straight” categories. As I grew older, I was introduced to the larger LGBTQ+ community and learned a term that could describe my vast attraction spectrum. Bisexual. Later, I would find the term pansexual to make more sense in describing how I identify.
Growing up in a small town, the LGBTQ+ community was largely invisible to me. It wasn’t until my first Pride festival that I was introduced to the amazing tapestry that is the community. It was in Denver, at City Park. This Pride gave me such comfort and a sense of belonging! It felt so good to SEE the community out and in all its glorious form – and to know that I was a part of it. There are other people like me and with that knowledge, I was able to start shedding that feeling of “otherness.”
That comfort and sense of pride has not faded in the time since and is the same no matter what location I celebrate in.
My time with Elanco and Elanco PRIDE has helped me to start to learn and understand the challenges and celebrations that my global LGBTQ+ community experiences. But one thing is clear. Pride Month transcends boundaries. I am so excited to continue to learn about and from my global LGBTQ+ family, and to see what we can accomplish together.