Walking throughout the OKCPrideFest event the afternoon of Saturday June 26, 2021, I was awestruck — in the most beautiful way. I still cannot wrap my brain around the fact that this would have been heavily frowned upon just 50-years-ago. Shockingly, today it is still not fully accepted worldwide, let alone statewide in the U.S. The Trevor Project estimates that at least one LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 13-24 attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the U.S. (Kevin Wong, 2021, www.thetrevorproject.org). Our children are killing themselves every minute because they don’t know what acceptance feels like. Shaming is real, whether you acknowledge it or not. Shaming for being LGBTQ+ happens daily, in every environment, to all ages. Why does this have to be the norm? We aren’t in 1970 anymore, we aren’t even in the twentieth century. The world is quickly changing around us. It is time we start teaching our children what acceptance looks like. This segregation has got to end.
Today, in 2021, we are still fighting for gender equality, race equality and equality for LGBTQ. The fight will never end. None-the-less, we must look at how far we have come. This event showcased just that.
As I wove in and out of the crowds, love and acceptance radiated. Filled with colorful humans, there was a sense of safety being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals. We were all there to be apart of something bigger than ourselves. It was a judgement free zone for those who stepped into Scissortail Park that day. In a world where the old is being taken over by the new, my hope is that this old-world view will be something of the past. Until then, let us not stop fighting for what is right; equality in all aspects is a good start.
And remember, you are loved.