All over Western New York neighbors are celebrating Pride Month. On the weekend in the Village of Hamburg Pride in the Park was all about acceptance, love and rainbows. One of the messages from people attending were, love yourself. Abigail Skinner, LMSW, MPA, BCCLA, GLYS WNY Inc, member of the board of directors says “what this does is allow the community to come together as one, to be the visibility to know there are other people like me actually here; that I can communicate with and actually gets it.” She goes on to say it shows the world that regardless of adversity we as community still stand and that’s why these events are extremely important.
Kara was at the event. It was her first day out in public as her real self. She says ”it is good to be here because most everyone here is accepting so it doesn’t make matter that I still look pretty much like a guy; but I can still be myself even though I’ve been on hormones for eight months; but still, everything is changing slow and there is only so much it is going to do anyhow.” Kara says if everybody could come to places like this and spend time and actually talk and get to know people you would find that everyone is a lot alike.
While the weekend’s event gave Kara a safe place to step out as herself, day to day is not that easy. Kara says she works in a very toxic industry and things are going to be starting to show more soon and she won’t be able to hide it. She says she is going to have to give up she loves and worked for to be her. A year ago, the Supreme Court ruled that a person can’t be fired from their job for being transgender, however, Kara is still afraid her employer will find another reason as an excuse. Kara’s story serves as a reminder that as far as the Pride movement has come, members from the LGBTQIA community still face adversity.
Abigail Skinner says “by seeing it in real time, having the world experience, people hearing the stories, like this is the thing that is happening and I love it because it gives other people who may not have understood the community a better understanding and with understanding and knowledge also comes more empathy.”