LGBT Pride Month Background
Why do people celebrate LGBT Pride month in June? It is celebrated every June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in NYC. If you live in South Florida like I do, you can visit the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale to learn more about the Stonewall Uprising. Pride month in June is the time of year to recognize the struggles and achievements of the LGBT community and to advocate for equal justice and opportunities. Its also that time of year when you can express your support for LGBTQIA+ family, friends, and colleagues.
Did you know
Recognizing Pride month in June is a time for people to celebrate and learn about the LGBT community. Some of the statistics can be daunting, but its not all bad news.
- Did you know LGBTQ youth are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide?
A study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. (Russell and Joyner 2001)
- Six in 10 LGBT students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. (Kosciw et al, 2012)
- Protective factors, such as community connectedness, may enhance the sense of safety. (Kaniuka et al, 2019)
- In 2013, 92% of adults who are LGBT said they believe society had become more accepting of them than in the past 10 years. (PEW 2013)
So what does LGBTQIA mean anyway?
Many terms are associated with sexual and gender identities, and terminology continues to evolve. (CDC 2021; Withtherapy 2022) The list and the definitions offered may change over time.
Lesbian: A woman who is primarily attracted to other women.
Gay: A person who is attracted primarily to members of the same gender.
Bisexual: A person who is attracted to both people of their own gender and other genders.
Transgender: Individuals whose current gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Queer: An umbrella term sometimes used to refer to the entire LGBT community.
Questioning: For some, the process of exploring and discovering one’s own sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Intersex: People who do not have traditional gender characteristics of male or female.
Asexual: People who do not feel sexual attraction.
LGBT Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Extension
The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is a federal, state, and county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences and to making that knowledge accessible to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. (UF/IFAS 2022) Diversity and inclusion is at the core of UF/IFAS Extension’s mission. During a meeting of Southeast Extension District faculty conducted at the UF/IFAS Extension Palm Beach County, I took a stroll through Mounts Botanical Garden to see their outside exhibits. I observed the amazing Lego sculpture art. One piece of art really caught my attention. A “Pride Eagle”!
Works of the artist Sean Kenney were featured in their “Nature POP” exhibit throughout Mounts Botanical Garden. Kenney’s artwork featured 14 larger-than-life-sized Lego sculptures. The exhibit concluded on May 1, 2022, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it before it left Mounts. According to the signage at the American Bald Eagle Lego sculpture, it took 22,200 Lego bricks and 77 hours to build. The signage read “The rainbow flag represents the pride movement, and this sculpture is an illustration of the American ideals of liberty and freedom to express oneself without fear of political prosecution.” This sculpture was a way for artist Sean Kenney to celebrate pride through his artistry.
So how can UF/IFAS Extension Agents be inclusive? Its easy by being an ally, including preferred pronouns in email signatures, celebrating pride at your REC or Extension office, becoming knowledgeable about LGBT issues, be welcoming of other’s differences, verbalizing inclusivity, and stopping bullying if you see it happening. The 4-H Shop even has Pride apparel available for sale (available at the time of this blog publishing).
If you are an extension agent or researcher (in Florida or outside Florida) or a member of the public interested in this topic, please feel free to click on this LINK to take a quick survey to let me know what you thought about this blog. The survey is anonymous, but you can leave your contact information in the survey if you want to participate in future networking opportunities.
Thank you to Dr. Carey Minteer and her lab staff for helping with the background information for this blog.
Also, thank you to my co-presenters for the background information for the following presentation (info also used in this blog):
Gioeli, K. (Presenter), Minteer, C., Encomio, V. (Lead Presenter), Rotindo, K. (Presenter), Le Falchier, E., Coulsey, K., LaChance, C., and Carruthers, K. 2022. LGBTQIA+…WTH? Bringing pride visibility and inclusion to research and extension on the Florida Treasure Coast. Southeast Extension District Spring 2022 Meeting. [Oral Ignite]. Meeting proceedings. Pg. 5.
CDC. (2021). Adolescent and School Health Terminology. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/terminology/sexual-and-gender-identity-terms.htm
Kaniuka, A., Pugh, K., Jordan, M., Brooks, B., Dodd, J., Mann, A., Williams, S., and Kirsch, J. (2019) Stigma and suicide risk among the LGBTQ population: Are anxiety and depression to blame and can connectedness to the LGBTQ community help?, Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 23:2, 205-220.
Kosciw, Joseph G., Ph.D., Emily A. Greytak, Ph.D., Mark J. Bartkiewicz, M.S., Madelyn J. Boesen, M.A., Neal A. Palmer, M.S. (2012) “The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools.”
Pew Research Centers Social Demographic Trends Project RSS. (2013) “A Survey of LGBT Americans.” http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/06/13/a-survey-of-lgbt-americans/
Russell ST, Joyner K. Adolescent sexual orientation and suicide risk: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health 2001;91:1276–1281.
UF/IFAS Extension (2022). Mission Statement. https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/who-we-are/
Withtherapy (2022). What does LGBTQIA mean? https://withtherapy.com/mental-health-resources/what-does-lgbtqia-mean/