OTF Message from the Executive Director June 2023

Embracing Pride: A Call to Advocate for the Underdog

Every year in June, the LGBTQ+ community and its allies come together to celebrate pride, honoring those who blazed a trail for the gay liberation movement. What originated as a police clash at a gay bar in New York City has blossomed into a global phenomenon, featuring parades, festivals, and a sense of solidarity centered around LGBTQ+ culture, rights, and, above all, pride.

The essence of pride lies in its unique ability to be defined by personal choice. Some see it as an annual opportunity to express pride in themselves and their community. For others, pride serves as a reminder of the ongoing work that lies ahead, as the struggle for equality is a continuous journey, and history can easily repeat itself. Personally, my pride is rooted in championing the underdog.

Our community now stands at a critical juncture, as numerous states, including Florida, attempt to erode basic human dignity through homophobic and transphobic legislation. In the face of such challenges, privileged members within our community have a choice to make. The late Representative John Lewis once shared these words: "Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not confined to a day, a week, a month, or a year; it is a lifelong endeavor. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get into good trouble, necessary trouble."

The future of pride is yet to be fully defined. For me, pride means standing up for the underdog, even if it means directly confronting adversity. I encourage each of you to reflect on how you will showcase your pride. It is crucial for everyone to make decisions that align with their own personal well-being. Regardless of the chosen expression of pride, let us respect others' choices in their methods and remain focused on the shared cause we fight for. Our friends and family need our support in any way we can offer it. Now is the time to break free from the confines of our social circles. Now is the time to stand up for the underdog. Now is the time to become the agents of positive change.