It is with great excitement that we are launching the Kaleidoscope website, as we are thrilled to be able to reach more people and provide support. It is also a happy coincidence that this launch coincides with LGBTQ+ Pride month! We are certainly proud to be able to work with our LGBTQ+ youth and young adults and we also encourage them to feel proud of who they are. Check out our Events page to find out where you and your families can show your support by attending Pride events this month. You may encounter us at a Kaleidoscope booth when you do… Please say hello!
What is the significance of showing LGBTQ+ Pride? Perhaps in your own family, you’ve heard the question asked, “Why don’t people just keep that private? I’m straight and I don’t feel the need to throw a parade about it.”
To address that question fully, we need to go back to the not-so-distant past… Straight, cisgender people were never thrown in jail for being born that way. However, being LGBT was a criminal offense in California until 1975! Until then, patrons of gay bars were often placed under arrest and their names were printed in local newspapers, leading to being fired from jobs and ostracized from families. It was also a criminal offense to be in public wearing articles of clothing that did not “match” the gender on one’s identification! It took acts of civil disobedience (basically, standing up and being proud of who we are in the face of intense opposition) to change laws and be treated more equally.
This struggle for equality continues to this day. And to be seen, we must be visible. In battling a 1978 proposition that would make it legal for teachers suspected of being LGBT in California to be fired, Harvey Milk shouted the battle cry “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Today, we understand that coming out is a challenging and ongoing process that must be done safely at the own pace of each individual. For those who are safely able to, however, standing up and being seen and affirmed for who we are can be an incredibly empowering act. And it helps others to be able to do the same.
Perhaps Artem Kolesov said it best: “We don’t come out for heterosexual people to know. We don’t come out for the ones who hate us to know. We shout and make as much noise as possible just so other people like us who are scared and can’t be themselves would know that they are not a mistake and they are not alone.”
At Kaleidoscope, we hope to help you see that – although you are beautifully unique – you are not alone. Whether you are able to express who you are to just one supportive person or to the world from atop a parade float, you bring your own colorful expression to this world. You are special. We are here to support you. We are proud to stand with you. In fact, at Kaleidoscope, we are proud of you!