I am honored, as an ally and Pittsburgher, to help welcome you to Celebrate Pride 2021. I have had the privilege of engaging with and battling alongside of Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ+ community for more than 23 years. The month of June and its fun, thoughtful, meaningful events have always served to strengthen and reinvigorate the movement for LGBTQ+ rights.
As long as they have existed, pride celebrations been a balance between exuberance and frustration.
It’s a party, celebrating the unbridled joy of being your true self and being surrounded by others true to themselves, up against the exhaustion and rage of having to go to battle for every small step toward equality, inclusion and recognition. And this year, those battles are as important as ever. Attacks on transgender youth and transgender healthcare are mounting, Pennsylvania still lacks a non-discrimination law that covers LGBTQ+ people and the people of this community – particularly trans women of color – remain acutely vulnerable to hate crimes.
We must use this month to educate, organize and prepare for battles ahead. We can honor those who have been attacked, discriminated against, and excluded by fighting for and demanding change.
But also, there is much to celebrate.
Celebrate how far the community has come. Celebrate your strength. Celebrate doctors and social scientists and mental health professionals whose research and patient care makes for fuller, safer lives for LGBTQ+ people. Celebrate increasing diversity in representations of the community. Celebrate authors and artists and politicians and professionals, including our very own Dr. Rachel Levine, for blazing a path for a new generation of LGBTQ+ youth, who are far more likely to grow up supported, loved and protected in their communities because of the struggles of their forbearers.
This month, we will celebrate a better future, as we put in the work to get there.
Happy Pride, Pittsburgh. Stay safe, have fun and work hard!
Dan B. Frankel
23rd Legislative District