Every June, members of the LGBTQIA+ community come together to celebrate Pride Month. This celebration of our identities, our past, and our ongoing reach for equality began after the Stonewall riots in 1969 and continues vibrantly today, even though the world is scary right now.
My spouse Kristy and I are approaching our 10-year wedding anniversary in July, during a year when more than 500 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have been introduced across the country.
It’s safe to say that I am worried.
I first looked at our changing world in relation to Pride Month in 2020. One thing that I noticed then that remains true today is how quickly we forget just how recently certain things in the world have changed:
Happy New Year. Elena Joy here. For some people, the holidays are a lovely change of pace from the rest of the year, a time to slow down and be with those they love.
I celebrate those type of people who can find that rhythm for themselves. For me, the best day of the last two months has been January 2nd.
Because anyone like me, with some childhood and adult trauma around the holidays, has a very hard time staying present and grounded. And the pressure just lifts up so much once they’re over and the change is palpable.
The thing that kept me grounded through the last two months has without a doubt been My Voice. I wrote a lot. While most years my writing routine goes out the window during the holiday upheaval, this year my writing routine was the only thing that didn’t implode about my day.
The pressure to “celebrate” was minimal in the quiet and dark mornings. Curling up in a corner with my laptop and a big mug of tea felt like self-care. I...
**Trigger Warning: mentions of sexual abuse, sexual assault, abortions, child abuse**
A Utah GOP State Representative named Karianne Lisonbee made an awkwardly worded rebuttal to a text she received in late June. The text informed Lisonbee – who is in the “it should be illegal for practitioners to perform abortions except in cases of threats to health or rape/incest” camp (pay attention to this wording, it will matter again later) – she should control men’s ejaculations rather than women’s pregnancies. Her response was outrageously awkward as she confidently announced she trusted women to control their “intake of semen.” A comment that brings to mind Missouri Republican former state Representative Todd Akin’s “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” That whole thing being rape.
While the internet went bonkers over how on its sound byte face it seemed Representative Lisonbee’s...
The next speaker from our Pride and Joy Summit from May 2021, is Dean Rasmussen. Dean is a transman, hailing from Canada, and was on our planning committee for the Summit. Dean was in charge of our Gender Identity track, which was a powerful experience for everyone involved. When Dean agreed to also speak for his track, I was overjoyed. Because in the months we had been working together to create this Summit, I had learned what an incredible human he is.
Dean is a fellow conversion therapy survivor. He is a parent and a husband, as well as a trans life coach. In our planning meetings, Dean was never the loudest or the most boisterous. Dean never shoved his way into the spotlight, and even giving this talk was one of the more challenging things he’s done. Visibility is not easy for every queer person.
Yet, Dean had this calm, quiet authority. Dean has LIVED a lot of life. His wisdom, his clarity on sticky situations, was a guiding force as we planned this huge international...
Minister of Justice, David Lametti introduced Bill C-6 in the House of Commons on October 27, 2020.
By: Becca Ladd
Canada’s members of parliament are making a critical move against discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people in Canada through a new bill proposal. Bill C-6, or the conversion therapy ban, was introduced in the House of Commons on October 27, 2020. Bill C-6 aims to help protect all LGBTQ+ children across Canada from the traumatic effects of conversion therapy. It also seeks to erase the implication that being queer is “bad” or “undesirable.”
Bill C-6 would adjust the criminal code to include conversion therapy. According to the Government of Canada charter statement, conversion therapy for children, non-consenting minors and adults as well as advertising conversion therapy and receiving money or anything...
October is just right around the corner, and with National Coming Out Day drawing near, we want to do something special for you.
As a foundation, our goal is to encourage and lift you up. So this October, we want to bring visibility and validity to every queer experience - we believe that all coming out journeys are valid and need to be shared. If you let us, we'd love to share yours with the world.
Whether you've JUST come out, are thinking about coming out or have been out for years, we want to share your story in whatever medium or form of expression comes most naturally to you.
Every story is different, some experiences are unexpectedly easy and some have unexpected and lasting consequences. Whatever your journey is like, it's definitely worth sharing and deserves to be in the spotlight.
That's why we organized Emergence, to celebrate the different coming out stories from the community and bring attention to queer experiences. Share your...
By: Becca Ladd
When employers are looking to attract key LGBTQ+ talent into their workplace, a good place to start is with employee benefits. But how can employers looking to become inclusive leaders create a benefits package that truly reflects what LGBTQ+ workers are looking for and brings in those key employees? That’s where the Impactful Benefits Survey comes in.
The Impactful Benefits survey gives LGBTQ+ people, their allies and parents the chance to tell employers which workplace benefits are most inclusive and beneficial to members of the LGBTQ+ community. If you've been looking for a way to share your thoughts on workplace benefits, this is your chance to have your say.
The survey seeks to create the workplaces people in the LGBTQ+ community have been fighting for. Whether it's...
"My TEDx talk changed my life."
- Elena Joy Thurston, Founder of Pride and Joy Foundation
Being on stage and connecting with people is something that Elena never struggled with. In the past, when she found herself in the middle of a messy divorce and struggling to take care of her four kids, these skills are what saved her.
With no other marketable skills, no work experience for the past 15 years, and no savings, she relied on her eagerness to dominate the stage and her ability to connect with people. She worked with one of the best speaker coaches for four long months to master public speaking and her hard work paid off.
She got accepted on her first try in applying to a TEDx event. This may not be for everyone, but she knew at that point that it was meant to be - it's her journey. As she stood in that iconic red circle carpet on stage, in front of about 900 people eager to listen to what she has to say, she realized a crazy new reality.
Being queer is a superpower.
As Pride Month 2021 comes to a close, here is a review of the most commonly asked questions from parents of LGBTQ+ kids.
Not being out with your parents is very common in the LGBTQ+ community. The coming out journey begins with being out to yourself, and depending on the environment you're being raised in, it can feel unsafe to be authentic even to yourself, let alone your parents. The more comfortable a child is with their own identity, the more likely they'll come out to their parents.
Obviously, parents and caregivers influence that comfort level. But home life can be very accepting and the child might still struggle to accept their identity themselves. It’s a very personal journey, which can feel disconcerting since we’re their parents. We wiped their bums for goodness sake! We feel heavily...
I thought obtaining a perfect credit score was impossible but by some miracle, I finally have an 850.
Not many people in my life know that I was a victim of financial abuse by a person that I was in a relationship with from age 23 to 26. He maxed out my credit cards that originally had no balances on them and he stole a boat and 5th wheel travel trailer that were only in my name. When I finally ended the toxic relationship, I came home to an empty apartment after work one day. He obviously didn’t take it very well so he did as much damage as possible before he fled from our state with my money and personal belongings.
He left me in financial ruins. I was in 6 figures of debt, I had $800 more in expenses than income each month, and more money stress than I can describe. I felt betrayed, suffocated by debt, and totally hopeless.
Like so many other LGBTQ+ people, I didn’t have anyone to help me financially so I taught myself how to create and follow a...