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Each year when Pride week comes around there are always people that say ' do we need Pride anymore, this is 202-( fill in the year). Even some of my LGBTQ peeps say this.

When working with my PFLAG kids and they talk about coming out at school or to their friends/family, it is a joy to see them in that excited place where weight that you didn't know you had been carrying , is gone or lighter.

I like to give LGBTQ history to the kids... how those that came before helped to make their life easier and how they can help pave the way for those behind them. It is also ok for Them to just celebrate their own courage. Be proud of themselves and their community.

I have been thinking thru my Pride evolution-- the first was amazing ... scared , overwhelmed , taking everything in and could not believe there were so many of us and such a variety. My first Pride that I went with a girlfriend and could hold her hand walking down the streets made me realize that most people don't have to be totally aware of people around them when holding hands ... Seeing people being over the top and rocking it was exhilarating. It was an infectious atmosphere of happiness.

Just when I was starting to feel like Pride was a 'been there, done that'...right after DADT was overturned , I was at Capitol Pride and a young active army guy came up to me and said thank you. I thought he was talking to someone else... I said, me?

He was crying and said all of you... for doing what we have done to make him and his generation have an easier road coming out to themselves and to society. He can serve his country openly as a proud gay man.

Unfortunately, We keep being reminded that our steps forward are not carved in stone.

The freedom of our Trans community to serve openly, or at all, in the military was legal, then rescinded and now legal again. We know that our rights can go away- poof! -just like that and we take a step back. We cannot be complacent.

I realized now that Pride is a journey not static. For me it is always pride in myself, for my courage; but just as important for us to celebrate ourselves as a community-- for those that fought for where we are now, and to help and celebrate those that are just starting their journeys.

Seeing young kids at local prides celebrating with their friends and their parents that brought them, wearing their respective LGBTQ flags as capes ... gives me hope!

Happy Pride all!

Amy Burns

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