June is the month when our visibility is most prevalent and pride is celebrated all over the world, we come out in droves to show that we are proud of who we are. We stand together. New Jersey has been showing its pride for 23 years with their spectacular celebration in Asbury Park, but June is not the only month that we are visible.
We are visible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every minute of every day, year after year.
There are days when the world is not a parade and we have to walk alone into a new job, or to buy a car, shop for food and all the other necessities of life that need to get done.Most days we stand alone in the world, and for non LGBT people that is fine, but for LGBT people being alone can go really wrong, really fast.
Hate crimes persist, and we are the targets in New York, Uganda, Nigeria, Florida, Paris, or any where in the world, there is no getting away from the crimes against LGBT people. The headlines domestic and abroad read like a horror film with titles such as “Crowd goes wild as Russians beat gay couple in powerful new PSA ” or “Nigeria’s anti-gay laws: Homosexuals rounded up and beaten” Springtown man faces federal hate crime charge in beating of gay man.” I could keep going. These headlines are real and they are scary, and they happen.
People are killed because of who they are, or who they love, and that is terrifying. Not one straight person will ever know what it is like to be a gay person walking into a straight establishment where everyone turns to stare. It is not easy to be that person. It is not easy to be the brunt of the joke, or worse the subject of other peoples hate.
Must we continue paying for our freedom with blood? Could it be that the homophobes are scared because we are increasingly gaining our civil rights? It seems that way. Are these the end of hate crime times? Will it get worse before it gets better? Time will tell, but like we always have, we will continue to endure with pride, strength, and visibility, because we are here, we are queer, get used to it already!!!
Here’s a volunteer tip in Northern NJ www.gaamc.org/volunteer.html
Sam Martino is Out In Jersey magazine Editor she can be reached via our contact page.