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LGBT advocate explains what Pride Month means to him

Charles Kirtland is a member of Hampton Roads Pride and the Board Chair of the LGBT Life Center in Norfolk.

NORFOLK, Va. — June is LGBT Pride Month. It's a time when people, neighborhoods, and cities all across the country come together in support of the LGBTQ community.

The month of June was chosen to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York. On June 28 that year, a police raid of a gay bar led to a week-long protest now considered a major catalyst for the gay rights movement.

“We are seeking acceptance in ourselves,” said Charles Kirtland, Board of Directors Chair of the LGBT Life Center in Norfolk. “So we have to be accepting of others and what their view of pride is."

For Kirtland, Pride means living unashamed and freely.

The month is all about inclusivity, which was tough in 2020 because the community had to stay so far apart because of the pandemic.

This year, with vaccines and COVID-19 cases dropping, Kirtland has noticed a bigger presence than ever on social media.

“Since day one of June it’s been rainbow everything on Facebook,” said Kirtland.

We will always have room to grow, but the support shows that today acceptance is less of a fight – a sign that, like Kirtland, more people are embracing the power of pride over shame.

“Keep a bright outlook,” said Kirtland. “Because things will always get better, they always have.”