June is recognized as PRIDE month, a time to celebrate the members of the LGBT community. With a president who has personally sought to discriminate against members of this community, it is more important than ever that we celebrate this community and its members.

If you’ve ever had the privilege to celebrate PRIDE with members of the community, the you know how magical the experience can be. It truly is a celebration of love and how every person, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, deserve the right to express their love.

PRIDE falls at a particularly tenuous time in our country's history. Don’t misunderstand, the United States has never recognized the LGBT community and all that they have done to the degree they deserve. However, this year with President Donald Trump’s Transgender military ban set to take effect soon, it’s hard to find the joy.

As an ally, it is my responsibility to celebrate this community for all of its beauty and everything it contributes to our world. It is also my responsibility to speak out against the injustices being presented to this community by a government who could care less about their basic human rights (because, just we’re clear, everyone deserves the opportunity to be have love and give love).

I encourage everyone who claims to be an ally to observe PRIDE in honor of those who can’t. Donate your money to charities who support members of the LGBT community. Embrace your friends who are a part of the community and let them know that they are loved and valued. But most importantly, recognize that this month isn’t about you and your straightness.

This month is obviously to celebrate love, but it’s also to remember those lost to this cause for speaking up for themselves. Thousands of people have been killed or died from the neglect of so called “allies” and this month also serves as an opportunity to remember those and honor their legacies.

In the coming years, especially the upcoming election years, it is important to remember that though things have changed since the LGBT movement started, we still have a long way to go until real equality is achieved.

We’ve made amazing strides in the House recently with the passing of the Equality Act, but it still isn’t enough. The bill must still tread the waters of a mostly conservative Senate which could lead cause the bill to be thrown out. These are the things to remember when celebrating PRIDE as a heteronormative person.

Yes, the rainbow flag is beautiful, and what it represents is even more beautiful. But don’t lose sight of the role that people who watch aimlessly as this communities rights are stripped away by our government.

Celebrate PRIDE, celebrate love is love is love, celebrate the community. But don’t get so lost in the celebration that you forget that there is still work to be done to support our friends and family who are a part of this amazing community.

Happy PRIDE to everyone, but especially to my friends who are members of this community!

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