Opinion | This Pride, let’s reflect on who we are


(CW/ Shelby West)

Sean Atchison, Guest Columnist

Sean Atchison is the president of the Queer Student Association.

Pride month is a celebration of everything the United States should be: inclusive, led with love and mold shattering. However, instead of being reminded of how far we have come this June, many of us in the LGBTQ+ community understand just how much there is to lose and how far back Republicans would like to take us.

As I pointed out last month, the Republican-led assaults on LGBTQ+ folks, particularly against transgender people, are happening everywhere, including in Alabama. Thankfully, the Alabama Legislature ran out of time in this session to continue its hate-filled agenda. However, believe me: They will be back.

Republican leaders like Ron DeSantis would have you believe that all LGBTQ+ people are groomers, unfit to adopt children and unworthy to live in our society. Just last week, the Human Rights Campaign joined the NAACP, Equality Florida and League of United Latin American Citizens in issuing a travel advisory for LGBTQ+ people thinking of moving to or traveling to Florida in light of the archaic and dangerous laws that the new Republican candidate for president has championed. 

This comes as some in the evangelical Christian movement and the Republican Party — which in the past have gone as far as calling for mass executions of LGBTQ+ people — are getting their wishes enacted into law. 

Make no mistake: If we don’t stop this dangerous movement, they will turn the United States into Uganda on LGBTQ+ rights, just as Jenna Ellis, a prominent supporter of Ron DeSantis, suggested on Twitter this week.

This Pride, let’s reflect more on just how far the Republicans want to go in destroying the lives of queer people and understand what we can do to stop it. 

They have passed bans on gender-affirming care for minors, including basic therapy and reversible medications; in some states Medicaid can longer be used for gender-affirming care; in Florida, many teachers have been forced to resign because the “Don’t Say Gay” law means they could go to jail just for a kid innocently asking about their home life; and more states are banning freedom of expression for drag performers. 

If the conservative movement has made one thing clear from the past two years, it is that they believe every single queer person is not only invalid but a stain on society.

However, I don’t believe people are born to hate and feel disgust toward others. This is a movement manufactured by people who are scared of being themselves and hate that we are becoming a more accepting society. 

This Pride month, we must consider who we are, and for the sake of every queer person in our country, I hope we decide that the Republican agenda is not who we are. At this rate, if we don’t, Pride might not be able to exist by 2025.