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In pride we trust 

Hoist that rainbow flag high and let your “True Colors” shine. June is Pride Month, and whether you’re a member of the LGBTQI+ community or an ally, it’s celebration time.

Three cheers for equal rights for all! Here’s to safe spaces and to protections that prohibit discrimination against a human based on his/her/their “race, color, religion, sex or national origin”! And cheers to the growing socio-cultural recognition that gender and sexual identity are not the measure of a person’s worth!

It’s been a long and winding road for the gay-rights movement that started in Greenwich Village at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. But 50 years later, tremendous progress has been made.

The Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a civil right for all loving, consensual adults without regard to their chromosomal makeup. The military dumped its failed “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy in favor of open-and-out policies. (And miraculously, the sky didn’t fall once LGB members openly served as predicted by … some.) 

On May 31, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a pair of bills that ban conversion therapy for minors and that make it easier for transgender individuals to change their state-issued documents to coincide with their identity. 

And yet, there’s a movement that aims to derail all this tremendous progress. It starts at the highest level of government, with President Donald Trump and his ludicrous, ongoing commitment to banning transgender individuals from serving in the military. This is nothing new — the Great Orange first announced his malicious plan via Twitter in July 2017 and then put it into action, again via a series of tweets, in August 2017.

The ban reportedly caught top military brass off guard and is part of the reason the nation’s top jurors are now pondering whether transgender individuals are protected under the Civil Rights Amendment. It also seems to strike many Americans as exactly what it is — dumb, exclusionary and hurtful.

On June 11, a poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute found nearly two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) said they favor allowing transgender individuals to don the uniform and serve our country. Notably, 47 percent of members of Trump’s own party disapproved of his decision, a jump from the 37 percent of Republicans who said they strongly support transgender service members two years ago when the first set of policies-via-social-media were announced.

But as history has repeatedly shown us, when the leader of a major political party sets a discriminatory precedent, some of his/her/their supporters will feel entitled to follow suit.

Case-in-point: In Boston, one of the nation’s most gay-friendly cities, according to the Tax Policy Center, a trio of dudes has filed a petition to host a so-called “Straight Pride Parade.” The parade’s Facebook page is accessible to members only; however, The Washington Post, which broke the story on June 6, quoted one planner: “For them everything is based upon identity and whether or not one is categorized as a victim or an oppressor … If you get victim status then you are entitled to celebrate yourself and expect those with oppressor status to defer to your feelings.”

Sounds like someone needs a nap. Or a participation medal. Or maybe an external validation of his wounded sense of entitlement and privilege. Or all three.

Pride Month doesn’t have an us-versus-them agenda. Nor is it an attack on or attempt to oppress those who have been fortunate enough to have not been systematically pigeonholed and stigmatized for generations, based on one single, legally protected characteristic.

It’s a commemoration, a celebration and an opportunity 50 years in the making, to honor those who rose up and said “Enough.” Who recognized that humans are human and that love is love, and who were willing to take their struggle for equality to the streets.

We’re proud to support and advocate for Colorado Springs’ beautiful community in all of its diversity.

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