Celebrating Individuality, Love and Pride: Moving forward and continuing to support the LGBTQ+ community

Pride Month is a time to recognize and celebrate our diversity, a time to reflect on the progress that’s been made and work to overcome the hurdles that still exist. 

There has indeed been some progress in terms of accepting gay and lesbian individuals in our country, but there is still an enormous amount of work to be done. 

In particular, it’s painful to watch some of the increasingly hostile and destructive attitudes toward the trans community that have seemingly multiplied in recent months. But it’s also difficult to witness confusion and hesitation around queer, non-binary, and questioning folks who choose to forge their own unique path and identity and don’t deserve the uncomfortable questions or judgment they are often dealt. 

Like millions of others, I am admittedly obsessed with Drag Race; it’s basically the only thing I watch these days. Aside from the general artistry and energy of the performers, (#TeamJinkx over here), the show also serves as a beacon of acceptance and uniqueness.  

Performers create their name, their look, their persona – their entire identity – and then run with it on TV in front of adoring fans who embrace them for who they are. Out transgender contestants like Gottmilk, Peppermint and Gia Gunn have shown that even within the colorful world of drag, there is room for progress and the upending of expectations.   

Local programs near our Seattle headquarters, like the MoPOP Drag-tastic Summer Camp, Family Drag Queen Story Time, The Art of Drag at Seattle Children’s Theater and many more, are allowing children to express themselves and learn about this community in a safe space. It gives me a lot of hope for the future, despite the slew of the ongoing attempts to hide or silence them. 

This is personal, but also vital to our organization; PayNW has committed to being part of the solution around DE&I. That to us means using our voice to offer support and educate anyone who will listen. This Pride Month, I want to make sure we go beyond just recognizing and accepting traditional labels. I want us to celebrate individuality and the acceptance of everyone’s unique identity, and make sure we love them for exactly who they want to be. 

Washington, Oregon and Greater PNW LGBTQ+ resources: 

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