June is LGBT Pride Month, and while I'm an out and proud lesbian of African descent, I choose not to participate in LGBT pride celebrations. Here's why:
LGBT Pride Month has become more about paying lip service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community than it is about addressing the real issues that affect us. It is a token gesture, implying that everyone can ignore our issues for the other 11 months of the year.
I don't want to be tokenized. I want equal rights.
Today, it is still legal in 29 states for an employer to fire you for no other reason than that you are lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender. No matter how well you do on the job, your employer, if he or she is a bigot, can give you the pink slip.
Fortunately, President Obama is drafting an executive order requiring any company that does business with the federal government to agree not to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual identity.
And the country has made great strides on the issue of same-sex marriage. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, which the federal government also recognizes.
But we don't have full rights to form a family yet. Only 16 states allow for same-sex simultaneous adoption, while two states, Mississippi and Utah, ban adoptions by same-sex couples.
So until we have full and equal rights across the county, in the workplace, at the marriage altar, and in the home, I won't take part in the celebration.
Instead, I will strive towards equality all 12 months of the year, and I hope you'll join me, so that one year soon we can all take pride that our country has lived up to its promise of liberty and justice for all.