At Jefferson Center, we value the diverse voices of our staff members and believe in providing a platform for their perspectives. In this blog post, we have the privilege of hearing from Tabbey, a valued member of our team and a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Tabbey’s personal journey and insights into the evolution and purpose of Pride Month offer a unique perspective, and we believe it is essential to showcase the lived experiences and perspectives of our staff members, reflecting the inclusive values we uphold as an organization. With that in mind, we present Tabbey’s thoughts on the evolution of Pride:
Hi! Some of you may know me, some, not so much. So, for the “not so much” group, my name is Tabbitha, aka Tabbey, aka Tabbs (only the ones closest to me call me Tabbs). I identify as a transgender female/lesbian, and my pronouns are she/her or fae/faer. I have worked at Jefferson Center for the past 11 ½ years, I am a founding member of our LGBTQ+ Affinity Steering Committee, and I am the Office Administrator at our North Wadsworth location.
So, what do you know of Pride? Some believe that is where the more flamboyant of the community get one weekend to show their plumage. However, it wasn’t always like that. Some say that the LGBTQ+ revolution began at the end of June 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in NYC, though there are some dissenting views that say it started as early as the 50’s. Regardless of when the fight began, Stonewall is considered the pivotal moment at which the fuse was lit. For more history, please follow this link:
Pride in the beginning consisted of marches called “Reminder Day Pickets,” and the first was the June 28, 1970, one year after the original Stonewall riot, and they were held in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco. They slowly evolved as a celebration of our diversity and our uniqueness, and on June 25, 1978, the first Pride flag was flown over the Civic Center Park in San Francisco.
Originally designed by Gilbert Baker, the flag had more than the seven colors you see today, this flag had nine, and, as with today’s flag, each color has a distinct meaning. Since the flag’s inception, there have been different renditions, and each part of the community has their own flag with each color having its own meaning.
Pride also celebrates those pioneers who came before us, those who died in the struggle, those who have passed from the AIDS epidemic, and those that were murdered in the mass shootings at Club Q and Pulse.
Pride in its essential meaning has taken on more of a brewing protest to the societal issues befalling us, especially regarding the transgender community. They say history is bound to repeat itself, and right now I feel we are coming full circle. We may be approaching our own generation’s “Stonewall.” While Federal courts have struck down bills aimed at putting us back in the closet, or for some, never feeling safe enough to come out, please know that there is hope.
It is important for us to emphasize our people, our community, over politics. We are crying out to put an end to the needless deaths, whether by suicide, mass shootings, or murder, giving our young people a world in which to grow and flourish, however they choose. To stop the hate, the anger, the marginalization, the fear. Yes, fear. Our community is not trying to “groom” or “convert” children. We are not putting ourselves through the hardships of transitioning in order to enter restrooms with predatory intentions. We are not “pretending” to be trans females to infiltrate the feminist movements. Like everyone else on this earth, we didn’t have a “choice” being born the way we are, and we don’t want to take over the world. We want to live in peace. We are human beings and we are asking to be treated with the same dignity and respect as our cis heteronormative counterparts. Is that too much to ask?
Tabbey’s heartfelt words shed light on the significance of Pride Month and its transformation over time. It is vital to recognize and embrace the diversity of voices within our community. At Jefferson Center, we stand committed to fostering an inclusive environment that supports all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Let us remember Tabbey’s call for unity, respect, and dignity, as we strive for a world where everyone can live authentically and in peace.