Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Keep Going: GSWNY Celebrates Pride Month

This month, the GSWNY Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee is celebrating Pride! Throughout June, we’ll share more about the history of Pride, as well as highlights from LGBTQ+ representation in pop culture, highlights of community members, tips for allies, as well as local resources.

If you’ve been keeping up with our Pride Month posts the past four weeks, you’ve seen the topics of history, notable people, pop culture, and how to be a good ally. This week is the final week of the Pride celebrations, which also makes it the last post on this topic for the month. But does that mean we get to dust off our hands and move on once we hit July? Absolutely not! While we’ve had a ton of fun putting these posts together for you, and the world is a better place than it once was, we want to acknowledge that there’s so much more work to do!

Girl Scouts are all about making the world a better place, and while we may not be making dedicated content for Pride during other months, we still acknowledge, welcome, and include those who are LGBTQ+ at all times. The people who identify as part of the community could be your parent, sibling, neighbor, friend, troop leader, fellow Girl Scout… or maybe even you! LGBTQ+ people are more visible than ever these days and you don’t interact with them during just one month of the year!

Sadly, this visibility wasn’t always the case. The GSWNY staff that have collaborated on this blog can remember a time only about ten years ago when coming out or identifying as anything besides straight or heteronormative was still quite taboo. Some of us can recall friends and classmates in high school who would whisper their secret, hoping not to be alienated by those they were trusting and wondering if their life was about to get significantly worse from sharing this part of who they were. We knew people who would finally work up the courage to admit to their parents that they were part of the LGBTQ+ community and not finding love or acceptance, but instead being kicked out of their own homes. Yes, we can remember a recent time when children were made homeless by their own parents simply for not being who they were expected to be. And it still happens today, despite the changing times.

Horrible slurs, other verbal abuse, or even violence were also a very real threat back then and still can be for so many. This month, June 12 marked five years since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL. Laws have been passed in just the last couple of months denying life-saving medical care to those who are LGBTQ+ simply for being themselves.

Bullying is also still a common problem for many children and adults, and unfortunately it’s disproportionately worse for those who identify as LGBTQ+. It’s not limited to only school, work, or other real-world places only during the hours you’re physically present there. With social media connecting us all the time on phones, it’s possible anywhere and anytime. It’s no wonder that mental health struggles are common these days. The stress that you can open your phone at any time and discover someone is attacking or threatening you is enough to make anyone have anxiety or depression.

Because these physical and mental threats are so real and prevalent, it’s important that Girl Scouts is a safe space and offers a network of support. At GSWNY (and GSUSA), we are always working to be inclusive, diverse, and welcoming to everyone. We are always working to offer resources, trainings, and guidance to build our own community of girls, adults, and families who fight for equality and safety of others. Plus, everything you’ve learned this month shows why it’s truly vital that advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and equality must take place outside of the month of June.

While we encourage troops to be girl-led and allow Girl Scouts to find their own ways to foster an environment of safety, connection, and happiness, please reach out to council if you even want additional help or to recommend a partnership with a community organization that supports LGBTQ+. Girls and adults can contact us at 1-888-837-6410 or customercare@gswny.org. On top of that, we’ve left a number of resources in the posts from this month and we will include additional links below. Thankfully, as the world continues to change and society evolves, many amazing organizations have popped up to continue the good work of those who paved the way before. Girl Scouts, let’s all continue working together to make the world a better place for everyone!

Rochester carries the festivities into July!

We also want to remind everyone that if you’re interested in celebrating locally during July, Rochester has you covered. While June is celebrated as Pride Month to honor the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, Rochester continues to celebrate Pride during July. This allows for visitors from across New York state, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont and Canada to attend Rochester Pride. 

Besides Rochester Pride Week during July 10-18, additional events include Rochester Red Wings Pride Night Baseball Game, an event at the Seneca Zoo, a senior citizen picnic, dance parties, and more. To see the full list of events, check out Trillium Health’s page!

Resources

Did we miss your local celebrations or do you have suggestions for future 2022 Pride Month blog posts? Email communications@gswny.org to let us know!

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