Midway through Pride Month 2019, a reminder of how far we have to go

A reminder of how far we have to go.

What kind of fortitude does it take for an LGBTQ American to get through Pride Month every June these days? June is historically a month of celebration and flying the iconic rainbow flag, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent out a directive that banned the Pride flag on U.S. embassies around the world for the first time. Several embassies ignored him and flew the Pride flag anyway.

There’s an Outside Editorial in the June 11 Empire about Florida Rep. Mike Hill. The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel headline is “If gay-bashing Rep. Mike Hill won’t resign, strip him of all committee assignments.” Why? In a speech in Fort Lauderdale, Hill enjoys a joke about killing gay men and he “wondered aloud how that would go over.”

The Mike Hill story drew some Republican criticism. The editorial says, “Now, if he refuses calls to resign, they have three choices – censure, reprimand or removal from office. Or they could let him stay where he is and give Floridians regular reminders that homophobia is allowed to thrive in the GOP-controlled state Capitol.”

I manage the PFLAG Juneau Pride Chorus Facebook page and I focus on positive stories. The Florida story was so egregious that I felt it’s a reminder of how far we have to go. The great news is that we are fortunate that Juneau has a civically engaged LGBTQ community and a cultural jewel in the PFLAG Juneau Pride Chorus.

Barbara Belknap,


My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.