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Viewpoint: Pride Month Is Important, but Advocacy Is a Year Round Job

Pride is a year round celebration.

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The month of June has also meant that cities all across the U.S. host pride parades, companies change their marketing schemes to rainbows, and people add rainbow filters on their Facebook profiles. But like the temporary Facebook filters, this level of public involvement is not seen year round.

While parades, festivals, and events of celebration throughout Pride Month are important and a fantastic show of support, we need this level of support year round.

This level of pride has dramatically increased since the vote for marriage equality on June 26, 2015 with the landmark Supreme Court Case Obergefell v Hodges. But this wasn’t the end of the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. In fact, it was only the beginning.

While marriage equality brought a milestone, most states still lack equal protections for those of the LGTQ+ community. Only 21 states and Washington D.C. include the LGBTQ+ community in employment non-discrimination laws, 28 states have no protection for employment discrimination for LGBTQ+ individuals, and three states have measures to prevent passing non-discrimination laws. In many states conversion therapy is still legal, it was only banned starting in 2012 when California became the first state to ban it. Only 11 states have banned conversion therapy, while many more are attempting to pass laws against it.

For trans* rights, the fight is even more difficult: only 14 states allow trans* individuals to change the gender marker on their license and birth certificate. Fewer states offer gender identities outside the male and female binary.

California became the first state to recognize a third gender in late 2017. Comparatively, the United States has very progressive laws. On a global level many countries it is still illegal to be openly LGBTQ+.

So when Pride Month ends, don’t forget to be an ally the other 11 months out of the year. Prove you can be a good ally and ask your friends in the LGBTQ+ community what they need from you as a friend. Beyond that watch the news: know what is going on and what you can do to help push movements forward.

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Nicole Masaki is a 2018 graduate ofCanisius College in Buffalo, New York. She is a triple major in English, Environmental Studies, and Philosophy. She will be a first year grad student at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Fransisco for their MA in Anthropology and Social Change program.

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