From Day 1 of coming out as queer, I have never been comfortable with the idea of seeking out the company of others and clinging to them merely because they are queer, too. To me, that was a form of self-segregation. All I wanted to do was integrate. This is partly why I’ve always avoided queer events, including Pride.
In fact, Pride in particular rubbed me the wrong way because it had become too much about the pageantry, as far as I was concerned, careening far past the initial intent following the Stonewall riots in 1969. But this year, I have a new perspective.
This year’s Pride event in Las Vegas, planned for Oct. 20-22, comes at a time when there are people in Washington — the White House in specific — who have been very hostile toward LGBTQ Americans. There also has been a wave of phobia and bigotry targeting queer individuals in certain states around the country. Most recently, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the Justice Department to take the stance that transgender individuals are not protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans workplace discrimination based on sex. Previously, sex was viewed as including gender identity.
Due to actions such as these, I feel like it’s important for LGBTQ Las Vegans and their friends and families to show up this year, especially at the parade, which takes place from 8-10 p.m. Oct. 20 in downtown Las Vegas. I will be there marching with other museum staff members, feeling a sense of purpose with every step. If you want more information about Pride, visit its website at lasvegaspride.org.
– Cassandra K.