Remembering Pride Month’s Origins

During Pride month and always, Ethos Behavioral Health Group stands with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals. We welcome LGBTQIA+ people of all races, nationalities, ages, classes and creeds with open arms, and we make every effort to support you in your mental health journey and help you reach a place of wellness, recovery and long-term healing.

Kelsey Sheppard, clinical intern at Ethos’ The Lovett Center, has a few words to share with us on this year’s Pride month, as well as its history.

“Pride is a month-long celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community, and while it comes from a long-standing history of oppression, it’s a time to celebrate, to be even more proud, excited, open and joyous about who you are and who you love. However, with Black people fighting for their rights and for their lives, this year is a little different.

In 1969, New York’s Stonewall Inn was a haven for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Unfortunately, bar raids were common, and the police came knocking one night in June. This time, though, they were met with resistance that served as a catalyst for Gay Liberation. Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman, is said to have thrown the first brick, and certainly known to have organized many of the marches and meetings that started a movement that made a difference. Johnson fought on the front lines for LGBTQIA+ rights, and she wasn’t alone.

Decades of protests, marches, riots and political activism have led to several landmark decisions that have impacted the rights and freedom of the LGBTQIA+ community. This struggle continues today, as the community continues to push for rights that have not yet been granted. Sometimes, when anger and oppression begets violence, that violence creates change. In the case of the Stonewall Riots, this change, created by Johnson and many others, still echoes loudly today. As recently as June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the queer community can no longer be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

If our Black brothers and sisters were on the frontlines of the movement for LGBTQIA+ rights, who are we to stand by or remain silent during one of the most pivotal racial justice movements of our lifetime? As human beings, all our rights are intertwined. We are all equal, and we should not tolerate the oppression of anyone from any community. We should stand up in this fight for justice, for those who stood by us. It’s important to remember this now: This year is more than just celebrating who we are and who we love; it’s honoring those who stood for us, and standing by them in solidarity. 

Even in mental health care, there is a disparity in access to care for LGBTQIA+ individuals and people of color. There is an immense struggle to find therapists and counselors who can not just empathize with queer communities and communities of color, but who have a shared lived experience. Many LGBTQIA+ individuals worry greatly about being judged by their doctors and therapists, and it’s important, and it’s so needed, for them to know they have a safe space. It can help strengthen the relationship between therapist and client, and it may even save someone’s life.”

For those who wish to find help in accessing behavioral health care, or for those seeking counselors who reflect their color, gender, sexuality or other life experiences, here is a list of resources that may be helpful.

  • The Montrose Center works to empower the LGBTQIA+ community by providing behavioral health and support services, adult primary care and psychiatry and free wellness programs.
  • Lambada Houston is a LGBTQIA+ 12-Step Recovery Clubhouse.
  • The Trevor Project is a support network for LGBTQIA+ youth providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention, including a 24-hour text line (Text “START” to 678678).
  • LGBT National Help Center provides confidential peer support connections for LGBTQIA+ youth, adults and seniors including phone, text and online chat.

If you wish to contact us for support, we want you to know that we’re here for you, we respect you, and we will not judge or condemn you for who you are. We’re here to help. Tap here to find out if we might be the right fit for your mental health care. 

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