Pride month is much more than rainbow logos and glitter-filled parades. It’s one well-deserved month of the year when those who are often made to keep their identity a secret are publicly praised for their differences instead – something that, while it would be great to have year round, is still a novelty of sorts.
As a longtime-ally-turned-outwardly-queer-person, I’ve had the honor of getting to know many facets of the LGBTQIA+ community in Colorado. While, like any communities, there are hiccups and room for even more inclusion, the queer community in Colorado is one that’s been a model to me in healthy community building.
The Importance of Community
Having a source of community in one way or another for people on every part of the spectrum isn’t just crucial, it literally saves lives. Isolation and rejection based on someone’s identity, one they can’t change, is a huge factor in suicide rates.
Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of suicides in youth, and gay and trans youth are almost 3 times more likely to commit suicide than those who identify as heterosexual.
And isolation doesn’t just occur when loved ones shun someone. It can also be cultivated from simple lack of representation.
I can’t recall one hero growing up that identified in the ways I do internally. In fact, the word bisexual was treated as a curse word, pansexual was seemingly unheard of, and “fluid” was considered perverse. It was a small factor that delays my own self-discovery even to this day. It’s contributed to me questioning my validity in both the queer and hetero communities.
If I hadn’t been blessed with a network of people who identify in many different ways, I likely would have gone my entire life ignoring a huge part of myself. A part of myself that has helped me grow and learn in countless ways.
I imagine it’s a road block many have faced. If you’ve ever doubted the value of representation, try to put yourself in a situation where a youth sees someone who resembles them, internally or externally, for the very first time. There’s nothing like seeing the eyes of a young person light up when they see someone like them doing something they want to do.
It just so happens that our music scene is full of representation – or at least the potential for it. While I still believe we need much, much more, we have a wealth of openly LGBTQ+ artists who also happen to be incredible musicians. It’s a good start, to say the least.
Celebrate Pride Month with a Playlist
No matter where you land on the spectrum, I hope this Pride month you take a moment to show appreciation for those taking serious risks to live as their authentic selves, in turn helping foster the healing of a nation.
You can start by checking out this playlist featuring some bangers from some of Colorado’s rock stars who all happen to be LGBTQIA+.
Do you have artists you’d like to see on this or future playlists? Let me know!