Being Certified Gottman Therapists (and a gay couple) who specialize in gay couples therapy, we want to highlight just how important it is that the LGBTQ community and its allies come together and stand proud in celebration this June.
Among the many reasons Pride matters, we believe one of the most important is that…
Pride encourages acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
Celebration during Pride increases the visibility of those who have been shamed and ostracized for simply being themselves.
Not only does this allow LGBTQ the opportunity to actually see themselves within their community, but the broader community gets to see families outside the traditional. It is this visibility that leads to the normalization of alternative lifestyles and issues.
But why is acceptance so important to the LGBTQ community?
Contrary to what some may believe, Pride isn’t all about partying. The LGBTQ seek love, family, and a sense of belonging. Basically, they want the chance to live life as everyone else does.
And it’s that widespread acceptance of the LGBTQ community that allows its members to live authentically.
We’re very fortunate to live in the United States. All things considered, it’s a very progressive country. We’re blessed to enjoy a good degree of cultural acceptance here, while same-sex activity in other parts of the world is discriminated against or, worse yet, criminalized.
That said, non-traditional lifestyles are not always tolerated. The ability to be completely who you are, show a public display of affection for your loved one, be open and honest, and feel appreciated and loved… without having to think twice or be judged… We’re not quite there yet.
I’m reminded of a trip that we took to Amsterdam in 2019 to celebrate Pride. Pride Amsterdam is one of the largest celebrations of gay pride in the world. During those two weeks in summer, there are hundreds of parties and exhibitions taking place—and not just in gay establishments, but straight ones too. The city is famous for its canals, and that is exactly where they hold their parade, aptly named the Canal Parade. For Amsterdam, Pride is a point of… well, pride. Our experience was truly amazing. We were surprised to learn that at nearly all of the venues we attended, many of the participants were straight! Gay, straight, it didn’t matter. Everyone was there and united in celebration and recognition of the LGBTQ community. Ours was a feeling of total acceptance, unlike anything we’ve felt anywhere else.
And it’s that authenticity to be who you are without feeling you have to look over your shoulder while doing so that is golden. That is when you can shine and be your best self.
Finally, it bears noting that…
A large part of LGBTQ acceptance and belonging is the enjoyment of equal rights.
The very first Pride parade took place a year after the Stonewall Uprising just over 50 years ago, and its intent was to gather people who wished to demonstrate for equal rights. By coming together strong on Pride, we can exhibit to others the dignity and self-respect the LGBTQ community is worthy of. We can raise awareness of the sexual and gender issues that the community faces, normalize them, and effect change.
We live at a time where more young Americans than ever identify as LGBTQ and these children face higher suicide risks than their peers. With the support of the broader community, and the ability to fully integrate within it, the LGBTQ can feel accepted for who they are and enjoy a higher quality of life. Participation and support during Pride can change the hearts and minds of others around LGBTQ issues.
We hope you’ll join us this June in celebration of our community and in celebration of being who you are.
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Salvatore Garanzini, MFT, is the Executive Director and Cofounder of the Gay Couples Institute, based in San Francisco, CA. He and his husband, Alapaki Yee, MFT, also a Cofounder and Clinical Director, supervise clinical staff performing couples therapy at the Gay Couples Institute’s San Francisco, Palm Springs, and New York locations. They are both Certified Gottman Therapists who published a ground-breaking peer-reviewed research study with Drs. John and Julie Gottman showing the effectiveness of the Gottman Method Couples Therapy with same-sex couples. Salvatore and Alapaki also help therapists build a small and profitable practice by integrating their clinical and business skills. Salvatore is also an adjunct professor in the University of San Francisco Counseling Psychology Department. They can be reached at www.gaycouplesinstitute.org