The start of June marks the start of LGBTQ Pride month, a time to remember, honor, and even celebrate the Stonewall riots of 1969 and the work of activists and advocates that followed this important shift in American culture. It's a time for parades and parties but also, a touchstone for the sacrifice and often the pain that comes before "pride."
As someone who has never had to come out to her friends and family, someone who has never had her sexual orientation or gender identity and/or expression rejected by her community, I am certainly not here to provide expert advice.
What I would like to share, is my appreciation and deep gratitude...
For the folx I worked with in my earliest clinical years who were no longer willing to stifle their sense of who they were; these people taught me what raw resiliency looks like,
To the mental health advocacy groups and advocates who continue to fight to de-stigmatize sexual orientation within the mental health field and who are creating safer and safer spaces for all people,
To the faculty and staff in departments like The University of Michigan's Sexual Health program who are committed to raising the competency bar for clinicians and educators,
For the religious leaders and communities who have opened their doors, allied with and promised to protect not just some but all,
And most crucially, to the people who have allowed me to journey with them as they step into their truest selves; to bear witness to your reconciliation and growth is an honor beyond words.
To those who do not directly participate in Pride month, consider this your invitation to learn, stretch and connect with your community in a new way. I hope you find the voices I would like to defer to below a valuable resource.