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United Way of Southwest Alabama / Uncategorized  / Community Impact  / Community Impact Blog: Pride Month Is About More Than Parades
Community Impact June Blog by Prism Executive Director Corey Harvard - Pride Month is about more than parades.

Community Impact Blog: Pride Month Is About More Than Parades

By Corey Harvard, Prism United Executive Director

LGBTQ+ youth are the most at-risk population in our country. Whether pertaining to housing-insecurity, victimization, substance abuse, or suicidality, a plethora of data show that the struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals, and especially youth, are disproportionately more severe than that of their straight and cisgender peers. As though that isn’t daunting enough, since the beginning of this year alone, 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been drafted in state legislatures across the nation, emboldening anti-LGBTQ+ efforts at more local levels. It isn’t hard to imagine why Pride Month is hard for many of us to celebrate right now, but the truth is, it couldn’t be more timely.

Pride Month is about more than parades and marketing schemes. It’s about the struggle of internalized shame. It’s about the slurs, threats, and bullying we endured at school. It’s about being kicked out of friend groups, faith communities, jobs, and the homes we grew up in. It’s about being vilified, scapegoated, and targeted by our very neighbors. It’s about the heavy cost of surviving. It’s about remembering these hard realities—and then remembering how we’ve overcome them. By finding our chosen families. By deconstructing the harmful beliefs we were taught to accept about ourselves. By finding the courage to be seen, in spite of the external consequences.

Pride is about how we healed our wounds.

Pride is about how we set ourselves free.

Pride is about how we fell in love with our lives.

This Pride Month, I hope you’ll join us at Prism United in our effort to make Southwest Alabama a place where LGBTQ+ people have the opportunity to live thriving lives. The abundant research about LGBTQ+ struggle is harrowing, but there’s good news: research also shows that when LGBTQ+ young people find acceptance and support, their quality of life rebounds. We’ve seen this play out over and over again at our support groups for LGBTQ+ teens. You can offer that acceptance and support by being an ally, a friend, and an advocate for the LGBTQ+ people in your life.

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About Prism United
Five years ago in Mobile, Alabama, a group of community leaders and volunteers came together to create a peer support group for LGBTQ teens. Over time, the support group unearthed broader issues facing LGBTQ youth in the area, underscoring the need for a project that could adequately respond to those issues.

Prism United offers programming for LGBTQ youth and the people who care for them. Their youth programs—Prism Teens and Prism Preteens—provide in-person and virtual gatherings, special events, and other services for youth ages 10-18. Their Prism Families program provides peer support and local resources for family members of LGBTQ youth.