June is Pride Month

Pride month is connected to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, or Uprising, which began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

What impresses me is that we have evolved out of a series of violent events not to tolerance but to Pride. There is something important to me in the celebration of who we are as humans. Most people do not celebrate themselves. It is impactful to me to have a whole month dedicated to being Proud of who we are, specifically as LGBTQ+ people, who often are marginalized and discounted.  LGBTQ+ is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, non-cisgender and non-straight).

As a lesbian, it has taken awhile for me to find a place of pride for who I am. That is not just for being gay in a world that is not always celebrating of that. It is also for being a human being with fear about how others see me and all of the negative experiences that have accumulated in me over my life. This does not make me different. This makes me the same.

I believe in inclusion. I believe in accessibility for all people. I believe people should have access to the things they need – be that material things, or civil rights. I believe diversity in our environments makes us stronger. As a coach, I believe it is useful to challenge the human tendency to surround ourselves with people who are just like us.

I will admit to having been fairly ignorant to the struggles of a number of groups of people. Even as a lesbian, I have been able to ignore what I see because I grew up in the white middle class. I did not have to pay attention, so for most of my life I didn’t. It has only been recently, most notably since the George Floyd murder, that I have begun to explore the history and challenges of other people  Who have been marginalized and dismissed in our country. I am sorry to say it took me this long. It has been eye-opening.

As I explore, the biggest question that arises for me is, What I can do?

A first step. In our coach training program last year, we developed an Inclusivity Statement. The intention of the  statement is to bring attention to different people in the room, to create a safe place where all may feel included, to teach us to watch and to stand for each other, and to attract and support a more diverse group of coaches, believing (see above) that diversity makes us stronger. I have begun to see (with a lot of help from people who do their work in this area) that we can change things in our own space and that is a good place to start! I love this quote:

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul,  to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely….What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes

And so I have two questions for you this Pride Month:

1. What, in you, are you proud of? and

2. How are you making things better?

About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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