The Pride Rally was an unforgettable experience that has made me view love in a completely different way. Despite being heterosexual, I have always been an advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community. Going to the pride rally this past weekend has opened my eyes about how love should be encouraged no matter the sex of the individuals who share the love. At the rally, I was surrounded by people who were supportive and not afraid to speak up about what they feel is right, true activists. Not only was the LGBTQ community acknowledged during the rally, but the speakers also were sure to express their gratitude towards the heterosexuals who came to show support.
Attending the pride rally was one of the first times I have truly felt welcomed and appreciated at an event in New York City. Love and positivity filled the atmosphere. One phrase that was said various times during the rally was, “love is love” and I have never understood the true meaning of that phrase until being at the rally, surrounded by people who weren’t afraid to show love for one another. One of the most memorable speakers at the rally shared his story while sending an important message to everyone in the audience. He openly admitted to being HIV Positive, showing that he was not afraid to share something very personal with audience members at the rally because he viewed everyone as his family. He mentioned that everyone in the LGBTQ community is in the fight for equality together and no one is ever alone or should have to fear not being accepted. This speaker embodied “pride” in every aspect of the word.
The rally was also meaningful because the LGBTQ community is fighting the same fight as women. Similarly to the LGBTQ community, the women’s movement encourages equality, support, and an end to discrimination. Just as the LGBTQ community wants people to recognize their love is no different from the love of heterosexual couples, women want society to understand that we are no different from men and should have the same opportunities.
I am glad to have been given the chance to march in the NYC pride parade with my non-profit organization, Hollaback. As I march I will hold my head high as a young woman and as an individual who understands that “love is love.” Gender and sexual orientation should never limit the rights that an individual has in society.