Pride Month 2023
To our community,
Pride Month is upon us, an annual celebration observed in June to honor the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history and to raise awareness of the ongoing fight for equal rights and protections. It is a time for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies to come together, celebrate their identity and diversity, and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and equality.
The LGBTQ+ community has faced a long history of discrimination, harassment, and violence, with many individuals forced to live in secrecy and shame. Pride Month is a reminder of the struggles and discrimination that the LGBTQ+ community has faced and continues to face, and a call to action for progress towards a more inclusive and accepting society.
At A New Leaf, we actively choose to serve any individual that is struggling and is in need of help. We do not discriminate and open our doors to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. We cherish Pride Month as a way for us and our donors to help break the barriers and obstacles that the LGBTQ+ community has faced and continues to face everyday in the United States. We deeply value your commitment to helping us provide support and resources for those in need.
Foster Care Program Manager
A New Leaf
Click Below to View Each Section!
SEE YOUR DONATIONS IN ACTION
LEARN ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF PRIDE MONTH
LEARN ABOUT LGBTQ+ CHALLENGES
UNDERSTAND HOW TO BE AN ALLY
FIND RESOURCES FOR LGBTQ+ INDIVIDUALS
See your donations in action with a member of the LGBTQ+ community!
Banica and her wife Liz were sitting in a foster care information session, ready to start their family together. But when the presenter said that same sex couples shouldn’t be getting licensed in her opinion, their dreams shattered. Banica and Liz knew they had a right to get licensed, but this hurt in a way they weren’t prepared for.
“We felt unwelcome and were almost done with all of it, until Kristina approached us after the meeting. She explained that she could help us get licensed and that our relationship had no impact on our ability to be great foster parents.”
“She was just so kind and said everything we needed to hear after that experience. She was incredible. So we decided to license through A New Leaf, and that was the best choice we made in this process. Finding an agency and an employee that’s going to work with you as a family is the most important part of the licensing process to become a foster parent.”
“Since then, we’ve had a total of 14 placements through foster care. Yeah, we’re a little nuts, I know. But there’s never going to be a day that we can tell a kid no, especially when we have the room and resources for them. They make our lives so much richer, and we’re able to give them a loving home.”
Banica and Liz fostered children over several years, but eventually took in eight siblings that needed a home. Wanting to keep these children together, the couple fostered four boys and four girls. As time passed, they truly felt like a family and moved towards adoption.
“We’ve got eight children with us that we’ve now adopted. Our eldest is Ryan, he’s 13. We have Mariah who’s 12, Adrian’s eight, Audry’s seven, Andre’s six, Nya’s five, Aubree’s four, and Logan who’s three. We love these kids like nobody’s business, it’s ridiculous.”
“And the most beautiful thing is that they’ve made so much progress. Our older daughter Mariah no longer needs to be in therapy. She doesn’t have her social anxieties like she did. She feels like she can trust that when she calls me, I’m going to be there.
“Adrian’s doing wonderful in the second grade. He’s on the honor roll and got all straight A’s this year. This is a kid that was kicked out of like 4 or 5 daycares before. The stability and love that we’re able to provide to them really makes a difference.”
Reflecting on her experience, Banica and Liz both feel that fostering and adopting these eight children has given them more than they ever could have imagined.
“Honestly, we’ve learned more about ourselves than ever before. We’ve learned how to be a better parent and a better human being. You can’t even begin to describe how much they’ve given us, or changed our lives. It’s incredible.”
A New Leaf
History & Progression
The history and origins of the Pride Month is something that has deep meaning and value to A New Leaf. The modern LGBTQ+ rights movement began in the 1950s and 1960s, a time when homosexuality was still considered a criminal offense in many parts of the world. LGBTQ+ individuals faced widespread discrimination, harassment, and persecution, and were often forced to live in secrecy and shame.
In the United States, police raids on gay bars were common, and LGBTQ+ individuals had few legal protections. However, in June 1969, something extraordinary happened. The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City, was raided by police in the early morning hours of June 28. This raid, like so many before it, was met with resistance by the patrons of the bar. This resistance sparked several days of protests and clashes with law enforcement, and is often seen as the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
In the years that followed, LGBTQ+ activists organized protests, marches, and other actions to demand equal rights and protections. The first Pride march was held in New York City in 1970, on the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Over the next few decades, the LGBTQ+ rights movement gained momentum and achieved significant victories. In 1973, homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders. In 1993, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibited openly gay individuals from serving in the military, was introduced and later repealed in 2011.
One of the most notable advancements was the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States in 2015, following the landmark Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges. This decision granted same-sex couples the legal right to marry and recognized their unions as equal to those of opposite-sex couples.
Transgender rights have also gained increased visibility and attention in recent years. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This decision provided important protections for transgender individuals in the workplace.
In addition to legal victories, there have also been significant cultural shifts in the visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals. The media has played an important role in this, with an increasing number of TV shows and movies featuring LGBTQ+ characters and storylines. Popular celebrities and public figures have also been more vocal about their support for the LGBTQ+ community, which has helped to raise awareness and promote acceptance.
There have also been important strides made internationally. In 2019, the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan became the latest country to decriminalize homosexuality. In addition, many countries have legalized same-sex marriage, including Canada, Argentina, Australia, and several European nations.
While there is still much work to be done in terms of LGBTQ+ rights and equality, the progress made in recent years is significant. The increased visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals have helped to reduce stigma and discrimination, and the legal victories have granted important protections to LGBTQ+ individuals and couples.
- Workplace discrimination remains a significant issue, with many LGBTQ+ individuals reporting experiencing discrimination or harassment on the job. This can include being denied employment, promotions, or equal pay due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Access to healthcare is another major issue, with many LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing barriers to receiving quality healthcare services. This can be due to lack of knowledge or sensitivity among healthcare providers, as well as discrimination and bias in the healthcare system.
- Transgender individuals, in particular, continue to face significant challenges and discrimination. Transgender individuals often face barriers to accessing healthcare, legal identification documents, and safe housing. Violence against transgender individuals, particularly transgender women of color, also remains a major concern.
- In addition to these challenges, LGBTQ+ youth continue to face high rates of bullying and harassment in schools, which can lead to negative mental health outcomes and even suicide.
It is important to acknowledge and address these ongoing challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, and to continue advocating for equality and inclusion in all areas of life.
In addition to its role in activism and advocacy, Pride Month is also a time for celebration and community-building. It provides an opportunity for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies to come together, celebrate their identity and diversity, and build supportive networks and communities. The festivities of Pride Month, including parades, parties, and other events, help to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion for LGBTQ+ individuals.
There are many ways that individuals and communities can celebrate Pride Month and show support for the LGBTQ+ community. Here are some suggestions:
Attend Pride parades and events: Many cities hold Pride parades and events during the month of June. Attending these events is a great way to show support for the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate its diversity.
Support LGBTQ+ businesses: Look for local businesses that are LGBTQ+-owned or LGBTQ+-friendly and support them by shopping there or recommending them to others.
Advocate for LGBTQ+ rights: Write to your elected representatives, donate to organizations that support LGBTQ+ rights, and speak out against discrimination and hate speech.
Volunteer with LGBTQ+ organizations: Many organizations that serve the LGBTQ+ community rely on volunteers to support their programs and services. Consider volunteering with a local LGBTQ+ organization to show your support and make a difference in your community.
Show support on social media: Use social media to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community by sharing positive messages, sharing information about events, or using hashtags like #PrideMonth or #LoveIsLove.
Educate oneself on LGBTQ+ issues and history: Take the time to learn more about LGBTQ+ history and the issues faced by the community today. This can include reading books or watching documentaries about LGBTQ+ experiences, attending educational events, or seeking out online resources. Below is a list of educational pieces of entertainment that A New Leaf particularly recommends:
Young Queer America by LA-based photographer Maxwell Poth, an essay and photo-driven book about the younger LGBTQ+ generation.
The Deviant’s War written by Eric Cervini, a comprehensive study on major LBGTQ+ court cases in the 1960’s.
‘Paris is Burning’ (1990) – Recognized as one of the most important LGBTQ+ documentaries of all time, this documentary dives into the world of the ball scene in New York City in the late 1980’s.
‘How to Survive a Plague’ (2012) – Documents the early years of the AIDS crisis, including the founding and rise of the activism organization ACT UP.
‘A Secret Love‘ (2020) – Documentary about two women who were together for over seven decades but kept it a secret.
‘The Times of Harvey Milk’ (1984) – An exploratory character study of Harvey Milk,the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Milk was assassinated in 1978.
How to Be an Ally
It’s important to remember that being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community is not just a one-month commitment during Pride Month, but a lifelong journey of learning and growth. As an ally, you have the power to make a positive difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals. A New Leaf encourages you to continue to educate yourself about and help make a positive change in the LGBTQ+ community.
One of the most important things you can do to be an inclusive and supportive ally is to listen to and validate the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. Educate yourself on the issues and struggles faced by the community, and use your privilege and platform to advocate for equality and justice.
It’s also important to recognize and address your own biases and prejudices, and work to overcome them. Challenge homophobic and transphobic attitudes and behaviors when you encounter them, whether it’s in your personal life or in broader society.
Being an ally also means actively creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals. This can include speaking out against discrimination, creating welcoming environments in schools and workplaces, and using gender-inclusive language.
Remember, being an ally is not about performative gestures or seeking recognition. It’s about standing up for what is right, using your voice and privilege to uplift marginalized voices, and actively working to create a world that is more just and equitable for all.
As we celebrate Pride Month, let’s commit to being allies to the LGBTQ+ community not just during June, but every day of the year. Together, we can create a world where everyone feels seen, valued, and loved for who they are.
Support & Resources
A New Leaf believes that every individual has the right to pursue the freedom of happiness, regardless of sexual preference or gender identification. Every LGBTQ+ American deserves to exercise the same freedoms and rights as everyone else. That’s why, at our many domestic violence and homeless shelters, not only do we open our arms and provide resources for the queer community, but we also are one of the first organizations in Arizona to allow individuals to choose a shelter based on their gender preference.
We also understand that LGBTQ+ youth are highly at risk of mental health complications and homelessness. According to a report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, approximately 40% of homeless youth in the United States identify as LGBTQ+. This is a much higher percentage than the estimated 7% of the general population who identify as LGBTQ+. A survey by the True Colors Fund found that LGBTQ+ youth who experience homelessness are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, than non-LGBTQ+ homeless youth. This is why we work tirelessly to address the needs of queer individuals and provide support and compassion to those who feel discriminated against.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their sexual identity or seeking support, there are many resources available:
The Trevor Project: This organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth. They also offer resources and support for those struggling with their sexual identity. You can contact them 24/7 by phone, text, or chat.
GLAAD: The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) works to promote acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ+ individuals. They offer a variety of resources, including media resources and advocacy tools.
PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a national organization that provides support, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. They have local chapters throughout the United States and offer a variety of resources, including support groups and educational materials.
The National Center for Transgender Equality: This organization works to promote and advocate for transgender rights and provides a variety of resources and support for transgender individuals.
The Human Rights Campaign: This organization is the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights advocacy group in the United States. They work to promote equality and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights through a variety of initiatives and programs.
Remember, you are not alone and there is support available. Don’t hesitate to reach out and seek the help you need.