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Celebrating Life with Pride

Celebrating Life with Pride

As a part of our ongoing celebration of Pride Month, Jefferson Center would like to share this written piece from Tabbey Cardinal, a Senior Administrator at Jefferson Center. Tabbey describes in her own words the complex feelings around celebrating Pride while acknowledging a history of pain within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Pride is again upon us, with all the celebrations, joy, and community solidarity that accompanies it.

This year, Pride has been more trying, as I feel as an advocate for our community, I must see the whole picture, including the less joyous side. This takes me down very dark roads, at times, to the point of tears, when I see the plight of our beloved community members who must contend with the slings and arrows from the less gentle of society. Statistics show that suicide rates are beginning to climb again, especially amongst our transgender community members. Those who identify as LGBTQIA+ are 7.7% more likely to contemplate suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Not to mention the number of trans men/women of color, murdered for attempting to be their most authentic selves. This is not relegated to those of color any longer either, the Anglo-Trans community numbers are rising as well.

So, how do we celebrate Pride month when there is so much pain? For myself, I feel that to appreciate beauty, we must also include the not so beautiful; it gives us a sense of balance and greater appreciation. Life, and the celebration of it should be the foremost thing on everyone’s mind. We need to embrace the splendor of the human condition, intersectionality, and the diversity of EVERY individual; honor others as well as yourself and embrace the beautiful person that you are.

How can you celebrate yourself and others, both during Pride and throughout the year?

• Build each other up, instead of tearing down. Honor each person for who they are and how they show up in your life.
• Be the right person. We believe each person can prevent suicide, both in the small things we do each day and being there for others in our lives when they are struggling.
• Embrace Zero Suicide. This initiative at Jefferson Center can not only save the lives of those we serve, but also our fellow team members. We are all human and it’s okay to reach out to your colleagues for help, knowing we all need support.

Along with this, we as a community as well as a society need to build each other up, not tear each other down, and be willing, at a moment’s notice, to be, “the right person”, as Jefferson Center believes with our suicide prevention campaign, in which anyone can be that right person from the exec team, to administration, to the community at large, to help someone who is in crisis, find the resources they need to lead their best lives. We also need to, as an organization, embrace the Zero Suicide initiative, not only for our clients but for our colleagues as well. We, as staff, are just as human as the clients we serve, and sometimes we forget that. We need to feel safe, reaching out to our colleagues and be receptive when a colleague reaches out to us. Jefferson Center is committed to the well-being of our staff and clients, and as staff we should hold that commitment to the highest of standards.

Celebrate yourself, your best life, and all the intersectionality you may possess, and celebrate others as well, letting them know the world is a better place when they can show up fully and authentically themselves.

Happy Pride!

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