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Pride Month

Pride With No Parade 495 400 CJ Bourque

Pride With No Parade

Pride With No Parade

In its 50th year, the LA Pride Parade has been postponed indefinitely.  How can this be?  With all of the oppression that the LGBTQ+ community has faced, it’s hard to comprehend that something is preventing us from participating in a cultural tradition that is based on defiant freedom.  How do we stay in to celebrate Pride, when what we’re celebrating is synonymous with Coming Out?

Whether we are LGBTQ+ or not, we are in an incredibly challenging chapter in our lives.  One with loss, uncertainty, confusion, and fear.  Many of our usual methods of coping are currently unavailable to us.  Communities of support aren’t accessible to us in person.  Our means of financial support may be in jeopardy or even gone.   We’re living in fear of losing our loved ones.  Many lives have tragically been lost.

Of course, this is not the first time that the LGBTQ+ community has faced a devastating challenge such as this.  For many, this current experience is bringing back tragic memories of the horrific AIDS epidemic.  There was fear, unimaginable suffering and heartbreaking loss.  The disease seemed to be targeting the LGBTQ+ community specifically and that only fanned the flames of anti-gay and anti-transgender sentiment in society, expressed through policies from administrations and violence in the streets.  Along with grieving this past, though, we can also learn from it – and have an awareness of positive aspects that emerged from it, to give us the hope that we need now.

In a recent press conference regarding the impact of COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci also drew a parallel to the AIDS epidemic and the resilience of what is now known as the LGBTQ+ community.  He recalled that, “During that time, there was extraordinary stigma, particularly against the gay community.  And it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism — I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community, very much so.”  As head of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci was responsible for developing medications to treat HIV/AIDS at the height of the epidemic.

Thankfully, the devastating hardships connected to the AIDS epidemic also inspired qualities of strength in the LGBTQ+ community that became embedded in our conception and expression of pride.  Compassion.  Love.  Unity.  Resilience.  These are only some of the principles that are now weaved into the very meaning of LGBTQ+ pride, similar to the colors that comprise the rainbows of our flags –  and the spectrums of kaleidoscopes!

So, are we able to have pride without a parade?  Absolutely!  The principles of pride are internal ones that we carry with us, always.

Let’s draw upon those principles now.   We may not be able to meet in the street to march and celebrate, but we are able to connect virtually until we may once more do so in person.  At Kaleidoscope, we support the revision of the term “Social Distancing” to “Physical Distancing,” because we are able to connect socially while remaining safely physically distanced.

We invite you to join us in this social connection and pride celebration!   Meet us in one (or more) of Kaleidoscope’s free online LGBTQ+ social support groups!  There are many such groups to choose from.  Simply choose one or more that interest you and represent your age group.  Then, click on the link to register.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Pride Club for Ages 11 – 13

Connect virtually with other LGBTQIA+ youth ages 11 – 13 and their allies through creative activities, games, discussions, & hanging out.

Varsity Pride Club for Ages 14 – 17

Connect virtually with other LGBTQIA+ teens ages 14 – 17 and their allies through creative activities, games, discussions, & hanging out.

Young Adult Coffee Chat & Support

Young adults (ages 18-24) of the LGBTQIA+ community are invited to join Kaleidoscope online for an afternoon of meeting peers, getting resources, and feeling connected.

Creative Expressions

LGBTQIA+ youth (ages 11-17) and their allies are encouraged to bring an original creation, whether it be something written, a song, a dance or a piece of art – that is appropriate to share with others.

Movie Night for Young Adults!

Grab a snack and join our movie watch party featuring LGBTQIA+ representation and storylines. Ages 18 – 24.

Movie Night for Teens

Grab a snack and join our movie watch party featuring LGBTQIA+ representation and storylines. Ages 12-17.

Kaleidoscope Pride! 400 300 CJ Bourque

Kaleidoscope Pride!

Kaleidoscope Pride!

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!