Friday, July 10, 2009

Pride month

When I look at the calendar for July, I wonder how it ever got so full. We have Charlotte Black Gay Pride July 18 and Pride Charlotte July 25. Between and around those two dates are a number of LGBT events.

Charlotte Gender Alliance is presenting The Transgender Living Experience and Library July 21 at The Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Community Center. A member, Stephanie Marie is organizing the event and I have no doubt it will be first class.

I've told some of the groups here that I came out 40 years ago this month, the exact time of the Stonewall Riots. I know we have a lot of progress to yet make but sometimes we need to stop and realize how far we've come.

I am convinced that Charlotte Gender Alliance has helped change the face of the LGBT community in Charlotte and thus, the city itself. Oh, I still have gay friends who say they don't understand transgender people. I totally respect that and some of us don't understand them. As always, the key is in listening to each other.

Speaking of listening to each other, the Community Roundtable last month was such a success that we're making it a regular event. The next roundtable will be July 23, two days before Pride. This year's Pride theme is 'Out is In'. Building upon that, this month's roundtable topic will be 'Out is the workplace environment". I should add, 'or the lack of a workplace environment'. One of the ground rules will be that no labels are to be used. Our lives are not defined by being LGBT and I think we all have enough labels in our day to day lives. You can click here to visit the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Community Center website.

The Charlotte Interfaith Connection continues to be a blessing. The purpose was to reach out to other faith communities and the LGBT community. We've also become friends with each other. I went to a July 4 cookout with some friends from Temple Beth El. Ryusho, priest at the Buddhist Temple in Charlotte has become a dear friend.

This organization has shown again that we not only need to think outside the box. We have to step outside the box and outside our comfort zone. As I say so often, we have to allow ourselves to fail before we can succeed. It took me a long time to learn that.

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