Reflections on Pride Month
June 30, 2021
As Pride Month 2021 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on how far we have come, and how far we have to go. Anyone who has ever attended an event like the State College Pride parade and party in Sidney Friedman Park can attest to the positive, joyful energy created by and surrounding such an event. It is a day of hope and celebration - filled with acceptance, support, and love.
But it is also unlike other days. It is a sobering reminder that Pennsylvania is one of 29 states in which LGBTQ+ Americans lack full legal protection against discrimination. They can be denied housing, employment, and even medical care. Many also face serious threats to their personal health and safety including higher rates of violence, bullying, and suicide. That is heartbreaking. And it is wrong.
As the father of a transgender child, I feel both fear and outrage at these realities. But I also feel boundless love and immense pride. My child - and every other parent’s child - deserves the same civil rights and legal protections that most of us simply take for granted. We must pass legislation at both the federal and state level to ensure that no one faces discrimination or is treated as a second-class citizen just because of who they are or how they love. But Republican leaders like Kerry Benninghoff have repeatedly and callously opposed and defeated such legislation.
I cannot understand or condone their opposition, either as a parent or as an American. Perhaps it is fitting that as Pride Month ends we shift to celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. It is far past time that we finally hold ourselves accountable to the ideal it enshrined nearly 250 years ago — that we are ALL created equal. That is what we must continue to fight for -- and that I will champion in Harrisburg.
I hope you’ll join me.