(This post originally was published by SDGLN media partner GLAAD.)
June, as Pride Month, is celebrated by millions of LGBT people and their allies around the world with parades, parties, festivals, picnics and much more. For those able to attend these spectacular events the sense of community that is provided brings with it the feelings of acceptance and support for people inside the LGBT community. Large cities across the globe like New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Toronto, understand the importance of celebrating LGBT pride month, but members of the LGBT community residing in smaller, more rural areas are often deprived of that experience.
In Porterville California the small LGBT community has been trying for years to convince the government to honor their proclamation requesting June be recognized, officially, as pride month. LGBT members of the community offered testimony before the city council. After much dispute and escalated hassle the proclamation was signed solely by the Mayor, Virginia Gurrola, allowing it to stand. It is not necessary, but customary for each of the City Council members to sign off as well, however one by one they each refused to add their name to make it clear to the public that even though this proclamation has been passed, they do not approve of the message it is sending.
Fifty LGBT community members and allies gathered outside to thank Mayor Virginia Gurrola for the courage and bravery it took on her part to stand up to the rest of City Council and officially recognize June as LGBT Pride Month in Porterville, California. After the Mayor came down to shake the hands of the LGBT community supporters and activists, what should have been a celebration turned into chaos because they were vastly outnumbered by hateful civilians protesting. Those supporting the proclamation remained cool and collected even though in the midst of all the hate that was hard.
Porterville, California is now celebrating June as LGBT Pride Month alongside millions of other LGBT people and their allies. The citizens there are so grateful that their mayor decided to speak up and support them, allowing them to experience the importance and significance of celebrating and being proud of who are. As we move into June and we’re all out taking part in our Pride events, we have to remember that now is not the only time to be proud of who we are. If we are never ashamed of our identities our pride celebrations will eventually reach every corner of the globe, allowing everyone to be proud of who they are.