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The Heat Beat: Being an Effective Ally to Musicians (and More) in the LGBTQ Community During Pride Month and Beyond

June is Pride Month for the LGBTQ community. Each year, the month is dedicated to commemorating the Stonewall Riots that were the birth of the modern gay rights movement, with events across the country. 

This year, as the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, it is especially important for the LGBTQ community and allies to stand up for LGBTQ rights. It is most strongly associated with the right to a legal abortion, but “Roe” was not strictly an abortion case, but a privacy case. The leaked document claims the ruling will only target abortion, but once “Roe” is struck down, the door is open for the reversal of laws protecting same sex marriage and other rights that center around a person’s gender, sexual orientation, and family and private life. 

The people cannot “make” the Supreme Court do anything. While our country’s laws were created by officials elected by the people, the job…and the only power…of the court is to interpret the Constitution. But we can all stand up for our friends and neighbors in the LGBTQ community. 

Fight bans on books and other materials that feature LGBTQ characters and/or themes

Pride celebrations are fun, and allies absolutely should attend parades, shows, lectures, and other events held in our communities. But it is just as important to attend “boring” events throughout the year, such as meetings with school principals and other officials to speak out against the removal of books from school and community libraries for LGBTQ themes. 

Those of us blessed to live in an area where this is not an issue can still encourage family and friends who live in areas where LGBTQ books are banned to speak out. We can also request books for our school and community libraries that support LGBTQ rights, or portray LGBTQ people in a realistic, non-stereotypical manner. 

Support efforts to fight so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation

In response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ signing of legislation forbidding discussion of issues like gender and sexual orientation in schools, New York City Mayor Eric Adams launched a series of ads encouraging Florida residents to come to New York City, where they can say “gay” all they want. The ads were funded by private donations, and did not cost the taxpayers of New York City anything. 

When choosing which political candidates to support in upcoming elections, make backing those candidates who support efforts like Mayor Adams rather than those who back DeSantis a priority. 

Refuse to purchase products from blatantly anti-LGBTQ companies 

Several years ago, Barilla pasta made headlines not for the quality of its products, but for homophobic statements made by its CEO. He reportedly promised he would never feature a gay couple in his ads, and that gay people could “eat something else” if they didn’t like it. 

Well, they certainly can…and they…and their allies certainly did, until the company reversed its policy in 2014. 

Researching absolutely every stance, statement, and opinion on every issue associated with people connected to everything you buy is pretty much impossible. We would never make it through a simple trip to the grocery store if we stopped to do that much research on everything. But we can refuse to purchase products from companies once we learn that their CEO has made derogatory statements about LGBTQ people, or that the company denies them the same benefits as their employees who are heterosexual and of the gender they were assigned at birth. 

Attend local Pride concerts and events

On June 11, 2022, the Little Falls Youth and Family Center will host a “Pride Prom” from 6:30 PM until 10 PM. The event is open to members of the LGBTQ community from the ages of sixteen and older, and their allies. Attendees under the age of eighteen will need adult permission. 

Single attendees will pay $30 per ticket. Couples’ tickets are $50. Those of legal drinking age, twenty-one or older, will also receive a drink ticket to the Pride after party. Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pride-prom-born-this-way-tickets-328054268147 for more information about this event. 

Little Falls Community Outreach is also hosting a “Pride Stride” 5K Family Fun Run on Saturday, June 11, 2022.Sign up for this event here: https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/LittleFalls/LittleFallsPrideStride5kFamilyFunRun

More events may be scheduled. Check Facebook and other social media for updates and additional events. 

Continue to speak out against stereotypes, discrimination, and other misconceptions and misinformation about the LGBTQ community. 

There is a common belief in our culture today that all opinions are equally valid, and everyone has the “right to their opinion” or “their truth.” This may sound inclusive and welcoming, but it typically leads to nothing more than people declaring their misinformation, unfounded theories, and prejudices to be just as valid as things like documented historical events, scientific information, and firsthand accounts from people who actually lived through the experience someone else has an “opinion” on. 

Don’t go along with this. Speak up, speak out, and challenge anyone whose opinion is based on fear and hate of the LGBTQ community. 

Mark Ziobro
Mark Ziobrohttps://uticaphoenixnet.wpcomstaging.com
Mark is the current Managing Editor for The Utica Phoenix, and a Central New York Native.
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