The LGBTQ community has experienced a history of violence and discrimination, and we believe that standing with our LGBTQ clients, staff, volunteers, board members and supporters is one concrete way we express our belief in the dignity and worth of every human being. – Sue Sherbrooke, CEO, YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish
Summarized by Erin Murphy, Director of Education and Advocacy Network at the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish.
When YWCA staff approached me asking if Firesteel could help raise awareness of their participation in the 38th Annual Pride Parade in Seattle, I said, “Sure! How can we connect this to housing and homelessness?” One Family Advocate, Nora, stepped forward and offered to write not one, but 5 blog posts related to housing challenges facing the LGBTQ community and the importance of YWCA participation in the Pride Parade. Thank you Nora! Because of her thoughtful writing and time, we have the following blog posts.
I’m compiling the “Participating & Proud” blog series here for easy reference.
It’s Gay Pride Week in Seattle, and here at the YWCA I Seattle I King I Snohomish, we are proud to be participating in the Parade on Sunday, June 24th. It is also a perfect time to introduce the Firesteel community to the work of Sexual Orientation/ Gender Identity (SO/GI) Committee here at our YWCA.
These statistics offer us a grim thumbnail sketch of the combined effects of poverty, child abuse and homophobia. The often invisible children represented by these numbers deserve to be acknowledged, and responded to. The good news is that we at the YWCA are part of a dedicated network of shelter and advocacy groups working to end homelessness for everybody. Even better news is that shelter providers, youth advocates, and the greater LGBTQ community are taking bold steps to create safety for LGBTQ youth.
In his March 8th speech at the White House LGBT Conference on Housing and Homelessness, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan stated that, “All of us–regardless of our sexual orientation, race, gender, or gender identity–deserve a place to call home.” He went on to outline recent policy changes that address the housing needs of the LGBTQ community. You can view the full transcript of Donovan’s speech HERE but to get to the heart of it, here are a few highlights, paraphrased from his speech.
The T in LGBTQ refers, of course, to Transgender. But I want to let you all in on a little insider lingo as well: When we say “The T”, we mean “The Truth”. We in the LGBTQ community celebrate our truth. It is the truth of who we are; our gender, our sexuality, and our personhood.
The theme for the 38th annual Seattle Pride Parade was the Many Faces of Pride. More than 150 organizations participate, demonstrating that the LGBTQ community and our allies are nothing if not multi-faceted. The social and advocacy groups that serve the community received enthusiastic cheers, as did Drag Queens, Dykes on Bikes, and the giant rainbow flag. It was inspiring to see business march next to labor unions; churches with atheist groups, sports teams with performance artists. A true example of unity in our diversity.