So without diving into a super deep political debate here, I think we have to acknowledge that our country has been going through some tough times lately. One thing I can safely say though is that the month of June tends to be one full of sunshine, fun, and rainbows.
Why is that you ask? Because June is PRIDE month.
It is a month full of celebrations nationwide of all the LGBTQ people in our worlds that bring a lot of joy, color, and a little sass into our lives. It’s the month where those of us who are allies shout it even louder and prouder than normal. And on Sunday afternoon NYC with be filled with love and support and a whole lot of glitter.
Now I’m not oblivious to the many struggles that our friends and family in that community face. I would be silly to think that there isn’t plenty more to be done to appropriately recognize our LGBTQ brothers and sisters as equal members of our society but unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to fix that in one article.
I grew up straddled between 2 worlds like many of the other writers here. For most of my life, I have balanced my love of theater and sports. Most of the time I thought they didn’t really cross over, in fact as a kid I thought they couldn’t be more different. As an adult, I realized that they actually have quite a bit in common. But that’s a story for another day…
The theater community has always been a welcoming and safe haven for our gay brothers and sisters. I knew gay men and women before I even realized what it meant. I was lucky in that respect because I got to know them as kind, generous, funny, and loving people. When I was finally old enough to understand what it meant it didn’t phase me because all that mattered to me was that they had been nice to me because they were good people. They just happened to love someone who was the same gender. Plain and Simple.
In sports, however, it has long been taboo. It is only in recent years that professional athletes, especially males, have stood up and out and started living their truths. I won’t pretend to know how difficult this has to be because I’ve never had to do it. I have watched countless friends struggle, or sometimes not, though and I can’t even begin to imagine what that feels like. And even more so when you wait until you’re a bit older and under a national spotlight.
As more athletes start to live openly and honestly the professional sports world is also taking notice and joining in the celebrations. So far this month 17 teams from 5 major sports have held their own or participated in Pride celebrations. Baseball seems to have lead the charge with teams such as the Dodgers, Reds, Cubs and many more having added Rainbows to their fields and uniforms. The 76ers, Boston Bruins, and Edmonton Oilers all participated in their local Pride Parades. The LA Sparks incorporated their rainbows in via food and cocktails.
Most appropriately the NWSL’s Orlando Pride sported rainbow numbers later auctioned off to benefit LGBTQ related efforts in and around Orlando. Their “Pride in Our City” match on June 16th also donated portions of ticket and merchandise sales to benefit charities in honor or remembrance of the 49 innocent lives that were so sadly taken at the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando two years ago. They even set aside a block of rainbow-colored seats with the names of the victims on them in their memory.
As with any major movement of change, we can’t change things overnight. But I saw a quote the other day that said, “We tend to forget that baby steps still move you forward.” And these baby steps by courageous athletes and leadership by organizations in major sports prove that hopefully, we will get to a place of understanding and openness.
After all love is love is love and frankly, I think we could all use some more rainbows, unicorns, love, and light in our lives. But not glitter. That shit never goes away.
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