By India Andrews
The Rhode Island Pride takes place every year in Providence during the middle of June, the National LGBTQ Pride Month. This event creates opportunities for the LGBTQ community to promote equal rights and diversity through public education and the arts. “In 1976, lesbian and gay Rhode Islanders began to organize our first ever pride march, believing that it is essential that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people have avenues to educate the larger community, as well as opportunities to come together and openly celebrate who they are”. Since then, the event grew a larger audience over the years. Individuals of all sexual orientations are welcomed to a safe, loving and judgement-free environment. Here, they are able to express and celebrate their identities.
Sexual minorities have been criticized, ridiculed, discriminated against, and feared for many generations. Many members of the LGBTQ community have felt afraid to express who they are because society may not approve. We live in a world where individuals commit suicide because they are not accepted by their families, friends, or society in general. Everyone has the right to express and celebrate who they are because we are all unique in our own way. Regardless of sexual identity, people should feel acceptance wherever they go and it is sad that not all of society agrees. In June, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell vs. Hodges that same-sex marriage is legal for all fifty states. This case was the first step to a new beginning for members of the LGBTQ community.
After the event, I realized that it is so embracing to be at a place where you are welcomed with open arms. My favorite part of the event was going to the vendors and receiving free stuff. There was a lot of merchandise being sold with the pride colors such as flags, hats, jewelry, clothing, and more. It was exciting to see how all these vendors were supporting and promoting the LGBTQ community. I recommend anyone to go to Pride regardless of what your sexual orientation is. I have friends who fall under different sexual identities and I would not trade them for the world. Thousands of cheerful people were just enjoying the wonderful event that celebrates their identities. The music varied from many genres so many would be entertained. There was even drag queen performances which usually provide a good time for people. Everyone who was there was able to express and celebrate their identities through clothes, makeup, jewelry, etc. Some individuals were dressed up in wigs and talked with accents. Regardless of your sexual orientation you are still a human-being who deserves to be treated like one. Hopefully, future generations will be more accepting of everyone regardless of their sexual orientation.