Higher education can not overlook pride month

No one should be forced to question their validity and humanity. | Courtesy of DASA - dasa.fiu.edu

Ariana Rodriguez | Staff Writer

Pride Month serves as a powerful reminder of the progress made towards equality, while also highlighting the work that remains to be done. Higher education has a responsibility to celebrate the month in a state that continues to ignore it.  

Celebrated each June, Pride Month holds profound significance for the LGBTQ+ community and society at large. The importance of the month is particularly pronounced in higher education settings, where fostering an inclusive environment is essential for personal and academic growth. 

This commitment is especially critical, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ efforts to suppress and marginalized LGBTQ+ individuals through anti-LGBTQ+  legislations. 

The notorious “Don’t Say Gay” bill that restricts discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools aims to silence and erase queer identities, contributing to a society that continues to believe in damaging stereotypes.  

Then there is the blatant Title IX rejection because it includes protection for transgender students, which the Biden administration seeks to enforce, further endangers transgender youth.

And DeSantis mandated that only red, white and blue lights can be used on public bridges during June in his efforts to promote “Freedom Summer” but this is a clear attempt to restrict  Pride Month celebrations and awareness. 

If that isn’t suppression, I don’t know what is.

Such legislation fosters an environment where prejudice and harmful stereotypes can thrive unchecked leading to violence and devastating outcomes. For LGBTQ+ students, this results in increased feelings of isolation, anxiety, and vulnerability. 

In a time when policies such as these seek to hide LGBTQ+ identities, the celebration of Pride Month and the support of institutions become even more critical.

FIU’s presence of dedicated resources— such as the Pride Center— underscores the commitment to creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ+ students. These efforts counteract the harmful rhetoric and policies, providing a counter-narrative of acceptance and dignity. 

No one should be forced to question their validity and humanity. They contend with assumptions that their identities are a phase, that they’re confused, or that they do not belong in certain spaces. 

This stigmatization can lead to severe mental health issues, including depression and suicidal ideation, making the celebration of Pride Month and the support of higher education institutions a necessity. 

Pride Month at FIU is marked by a series of events and activities designed to celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+ community, most notably attending Miami Beach Pride. These events provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to come together, learn from one another and build meaningful connections. 

This visibility and recognition fosters a campus culture where all students can feel proud of who they are.

Higher education is a transformative period, where students explore their identities and develop the skills and knowledge that will shape their futures. For LGBTQ+ students, this journey can be fraught with unique challenges. 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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