Going beyond Pride month, how to advocate for LGBTQ
Updated: Jun 18, 2022
Supporting our LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbors must extend beyond flying rainbow flags and attending drag shows during Pride month. Among many ways advocate, and perhaps most importantly, we must use the power of our vote.
By Kim Crider
Pride month is a time to celebrate how far we've come in the fight for LGBTQ+ acceptance and rights, as well as commemorate the Stonewall Uprising and hard work of LGBTQ+ advocates over the years. Nowadays, all June long in our community you are likely to see stores with Pride merch, view rainbow flags in front of homes, attend drag shows or Pride festivals, and enjoy other celebrations for Pride. But what can we do to extend beyond the month of June in our efforts to support our LGBTQ+ neighbors and avoid performative allyship?
The first time I heard the acronym LGBTQ was in the early 2000s as I was being interviewed for an intern position as a mental health counselor. I had many gay friends prior to this, but no one ever really differentiated themselves openly at the time. As an intern and eventually an employed mental health counselor at a college, I had many LGBTQ students in my office, and I quickly moved from having some gay friends to becoming a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community.
Fast forward a couple of decades (yikes…decades!) and my passion and advocacy has led me into some interesting community spaces to include local politics. As I write this blog and reflect on how far we seem to have come, I am grateful that there are more rights and protections for some of the LGBTQ community. But there is still work to do.
That work starts right here in our local community.
We must pay attention to local political races and VOTE! This was never more evident than during the November 2021 local election, which led to many newly-elected Chambersburg Borough Council members voting to repeal a recently passed non-discrimination ordinance that offered equal protections to our LGBTQ community members. This action from our local elected officials put Chambersburg and Franklin County in the national spotlight -- and not in a good way. Chambersburg made history as the first municipality in the state to rescind an LGBTQ+ inclusive law. Is this how we want our community to be viewed? Is this how we want politicians in power to represent us, our families, our friends, our neighbors?
We have the power to help make our community the welcoming, safe space for all that we want it to be. A place where our diversity is a strength. Where differences are appreciated. Where neighbors of all beliefs and backgrounds can live in unity, rather than division.
What do we do? We vote.
I recognize that we all advocate on different levels -- from quiet and behind-the-scenes efforts to speaking in front of a crowd or knocking on doors. No matter what your comfort level is advocating for our LGBTQ friends, neighbors, and loved ones, we can all vote for those who are supportive of LGBTQ rights and protections.
To check your voter registration status or register to vote, visit pavoterservices.pa.gov. For Franklin County voter and election information, including polling place information and sample ballots, visit the county's website.
About the Author
Kim lives in Chambersburg with her son and is a very active volunteer in Franklin County. She serves on the board of United Way Franklin County, is a member of the Rotary Club of Chambersburg, serves on the board of Franklin County Coalition for Progress, and has roles in organizations working in the DEI space. Kim is a health educator and yoga teacher and her hobbies include reading, hiking, traveling, and she is newly addicted to pickle ball.