Be Aware While Attending Pride Celebrations

Tony Guadagnino is a marketing consultant. Located in New Jersey, his clients are based across the country, focusing on social media to build their presence on the internet. He studied creative writing in college and is currently working his first novel on the subject of bullying. He lives with his partner Mark.

JUNE IS HERE! Besides the backyard barbecues, pool parties, beach crowds, and graduation events, it’s a very important month for the LGBTQ Community — it’s our pride month. You’ll find lots of pride parades, club events, concerts, tea dances, and everything else under the sun within the next 30 days. I remember when I attended my first parade in NYC in the 1990s, the sense of honor to be a part of an amazing event, surrounded by friends and surrogate family in a loving community. I remember had a feeling of being safe, secure, and happy, genuinely happy.

While I still do plan on being a part of the festivities somehow (not sure just yet), the world is different than it was two decades ago, and the feelings of safe and secure are different. Terrorism has become more prevalent over the years … we have a person in office (I still haven’t called him the “P” word) who spewed hatred in his ridiculous campaign, awaking racism to the forefront of this country and permitting the American people to be disrespectful to others who do not look or talk like them. They forget that America is a “melting pot,” and unless you are of American Indian descent, Immigrant blood runs through your veins.

There was a recent attack at the end of an Ariana Grande in Manchester England, 22 innocent lives were lost. After this malicious assault, ISIS took credit for it and warned there will be lots of other “soft target” attacks. It makes me pause to wonder if there will be any attacks against the LGBTQ community.

Obviously, terrorism and violence in the streets did not JUST start, but doesn’t it seem like there is more of it in the past two years than the past ten years? I am concerned about any potential attacks on the LGBT community because, as we all know, radical extremists find homosexuality punishable by death, and their warped minds believe they are doing what their God is telling them is acceptable.

Outside the terrorism, we have to worry about the homophobic people who live in this country, those who believe that every gay person is going to hell and believe that the solution is to kill us. The Pulse Nightclub shooting was a year ago (6/12/16), the single gunman mass shooting in United States history, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11th.

I am not writing this because I am a “Debbie Downer,” or to tell everyone to boycott everything, stay home behind locked doors, and be safe. If we were to do that, then the terrorists have won, and that is not the way to live. Enjoy the pride month as we have each year. But, remember the world has changed, and people must always be mindful of each and every event they attend. Look around, observe and stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings. Look at who is standing around you. Let’s all stay safe and enjoy our month.

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