Today marks the beginning of LGBTQ+ Pride Month in communities all across the United States, a time when we celebrate individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer. It is also a time for family members, allies and friends to show their support.
As many of you know, Pride began as a commemoration and remembrance of the events that occurred at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1969. When police raided a gathering place for LGBTQ+ people, patrons and neighbors outside showed their outrage at this persecution and their support for the persecuted. On the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, that show of support and activism continued as the number of participants in a gay liberation march grew during its route of 51 blocks in New York City.
Over half a century later here in Cleveland, Pride celebrations include a whole series of events, including performances, a speaker series, and a pride march to recognize, celebrate and stand together with our family members, friends, colleagues and co-workers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer or questioning (+).
Here’s the thing I keep thinking about: We are all at our best — as students, as employees, as neighbors and as community members — when we can show up as ourselves and feel seen, heard, recognized and respected for who we are. Today, I am most especially thinking about our LGBTQ+ colleagues, students and friends.
This type of respectful culture doesn’t happen automatically. We each have a responsibility in making Cleveland State University a welcoming place for everyone. As a campus community with aspirations to be a true beacon institution, I think we will find that creating an inclusive university will be our strongest guiding light.