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Imagine! A Month Dedicated to Gay Pride


Good Day My Confidants!


On June 28, 1969, Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village lesbian and gay bars, and neighborhood street people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered the watershed event that transformed the gay liberation movement and the twentieth-century fight for LGBT rights in the United States.


In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA)—the largest psychiatric organization in the world—made history by issuing a resolution stating that homosexuality was not a mental illness or sickness, I was thirteen.


And despite both these important historical occurrences, it wasn’t until 1990 that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. Think about that. Homosexuality was considered a disease before 1990.

That was only thirty-three years ago.


President Bill Clinton first declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride month in 2000, and President Barack Obama, in 2011. expanded the observance by designating June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.


And it wasn’t until 2003, just twenty-one years ago, that sexual acts between persons of the same gender have been legal nationwide in the US, pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.


Imagine.


For every teenager walking around holding hands with their same-gender boyfriend or girlfriend, even those in their twenties, think about that. This was, or practically was, in your lifetime.


It is due to the Stonewall Uprising—once referred to the Stonewall Riots—that June, all over the world, is a time to celebrate—with pride—gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.


However, there are 64 countries that have laws that criminalize homosexuality, and nearly half of these are in Africa.


Imagine.


I came out when I was thirty years old. Officially.


It was that year or the next that I came out to my parents, and luckily they accepted me. I have been very, very out since that time.


It was these words by Harvey Milk that changed my life....


“Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters...”


I was even interviewed, about that year, in the Kansas City Star, and I told them that I didn’t live in an ideal world where gay people could easily be themselves. However, I could help by being a bridge from a bad time, to a good time.


I stood on the shoulders of great and important men and women, like Harry Hay, Frank Kameny, Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, Harvey Milk, Barbara Gittings, Cleve Jones, Ken Jones, Rosalie "Rose" Bamberger, RuPaul Charles, Armistead Maupin, Stormé DeLarverie, Gilbert Baker, Sir Ian McKellen, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Fierstein, Laverne Cox, Billy Jean King, Alice Nkom, Sylvia Rivera, and Rita Mae Brown.

And I know I have helped change the world around me. I know that I can be the shoulders for others to stand upon.


In the 1930s, Magnus Hirschfeld, a sexologist, “spoke about changes that were being brought about in Germany… …he had worked so that men could dress as women if they wished, if they were properly identified. Regrettably, later that boomeranged. All these registered men [were rounded up and] put in concentration camps with Jews.

“The rise of the Nazis obliterated the early homosexual and feminist movements in Germany…”


Imagine! Think of how exciting it was to live in this time where homosexuals were becoming accepted. It must have been thrilling! Only to have everything turn around in the most horrific nightmarish way.


And now, in this time where GLBTQ+ people are able to celebrate, evil men like Ron DeSantis make saying the word “gay” in schools, and the fight continues. We cannot say that it couldn’t happen here, it could happen again. We must be vigilant!

Never forget all that is written above.


Today, I am grateful that the month of June is a time of celebration for all GLBTQIA+ peoples. We are miracles! We are heroes! We have changed the world for the better.


And it is Gay Pride that will continue to change the world!


Namasté,

BG “Gentle Ben” Thomas









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Guest
Jun 02

I'm so thankful for your history lesson. Growing up I was so sheltered n ignorant. I appreciate n love ALL my friends n I learn more tolerance eveyday..Thank you..😃

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Thank you ❤️

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