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  • Carley Crain

Stand For Something

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” - Harvey Milk

Stand for something. I heard these words stated loudly at a training I attended in April. It was not the first time I had heard these words but for some reason it has been the most impactful as it has stuck with me. Perhaps it was the context, in the world that we are living in and the current cultural climate, it is more important than ever to stand for something, and in particular to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves, or those who cannot currently stand alone.

Peer Support is based in the ideas of social justice and equity, it is a large part of what draws me to the work, and as we enter into Pride month, it is more important than ever to stand for and with the LGBTQIA+ community and their pursuits of social justice, equity and just being treated with basic humanity. One would think this would not be a big ask in the year 2024.

The reality is in the year 2024 this community is waking up every day to find out that there is new legislation that impacts their basic human rights and casts a cloud of fear over their everyday lives. The trans community experiences a near daily onslaught of anti-trans media messaging and proposed laws that would essentially legislate them out of their very existence.

These people are your neighbors, your friends, your family. Even if you do not know them, they are human beings; you should not have to know them in order to want them to have happiness and safety in their lives.

At Connections we stand not only for the right of the LGBTQIA+ community to exist, but we also stand for their right to thrive as well. We stand for the idea that love is love. We do not judge anyone for who they love. Love is love. We stand for the reality that Trans Men are Men and Trans Women are Women. We do not question this and at Connections we stand for the idea that this is a space where they will be free from that questioning. At Connections we stand for the idea that Trans Rights are Human Rights and that Black Trans Lives Matter. We do so unapologetically.

Pride month is an important month. It is a month where we stand for something. It is a month whereas a society we reflect on the bravery of those first individuals who took a stand at the Stonewall Riots and demanded more. It is a month where we reflect on the beautiful contributions this community has made to our society as a whole, through their art, through their businesses, and through their families and humanity.  It is a month where we say, collectively as a society, not only are you okay being here, but this place is also better because you are here.

It is a month where we take a stand for this community to be recognized with basic humanity, where we offer them the love and support, they deserve every day, and where we celebrate them for all that they are.

These are not easy times. It has become all too easy to pass off hate as politics. It has become all too easy to dismiss something because we don’t understand it or because it challenges our perception of what is and is not normal. I am constantly thrown by how quickly and determinedly people will dig their heels in and refuse to use simple words that allow another human being to feel respected. During times like these it is important that we support each other, and we stand with each other, but it is even more important that we support those who are vulnerable, those who are targeted, and those who cannot stand for themselves or who cannot currently stand alone.

At Connections we don’t do that only during Pride month, we do that every day and we encourage everyone who comes here to do the same. As we move into Pride month please take a moment to reflect on why this is celebrated. Please take a moment to listen, to understand and to grow. 

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