Written by: Caitlin Perry, Internal Communications Specialist at Port Houston
Pride Month is important at Port Houston because it honors the historical and ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights, recognizes the humanity and validity of the LGBTQ+ community, and demonstrates the power and importance of being your authentic self. We recognize that Houston has the largest LGBTQ+ population of any city in the state of Texas, and it is essential for Port Houston to create an environment of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people in our workforce and community.
“Celebrating Pride Month is a way to honor those that have sacrificed so much, just to freely be themselves. It’s important to acknowledge PRIDE Month, here at Port Houston, because we want our LGBTQ+ to be celebrated, to feel included, and to feel at home. More importantly, we want to educate our workforce on some of the issues this community faces daily and hold our ourselves accountable to do the work and make a change,” states Ashley Cheatham, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Port Houston.
“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States… The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.” – Library of Congress
You can read the 2022 Presidential Declaration here
History, Symbols & Celebration of Pride
Stonewall Uprising of 1969
In June of 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn gay club in New York City, sparking violent clashes as bar patrons and onlookers fought back against law enforcement. On the first anniversary of the raid, to build on this spirit of resilience, thousands of people joined in a march from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park, in what is now recognized as the world’s first gay pride parade. This day of remembrance sparked annual observances and weeks-long celebrations in the following years. In 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month”.
In 1978, gay artist Gilbert Baker was encouraged to design a symbol of pride for the gay community by Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., Baker chose to design a flag because he saw flags as the most powerful symbol of pride. Inspired by the rainbow as a “natural flag” from the sky, Baker chose six colors for the stripes, each with its own meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and violet for spirit.
Pride in Houston
Houston is home to the fourth largest pride parade in the nation, with more than 200,000 participants in the annual event. This year, the 44th annual Houston Pride Celebration will take place in downtown Houston on Saturday, June 25th. Read more: https://pridehouston.org/event/celebration-2022/
Progress Can’t be Contained…
In the spring of 2021, Maersk sent two rainbow-painted containers on a world tour to represent their commitment to inclusion and diversity. When one of these bold boxes made a stop at Port Houston, a handful of team members took a moment to sign their names inside, demonstrating their personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
This month, as we focus on inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to recognize both the strides we have made as a nation and the miles still to go on the journey towards acceptance. Consider the following stats:
- 54% of LGBTQ+ Americans have hidden a personal relationship to avoid discrimination
- Only 46% of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals are open about their sexual orientation with their family, and 43% of LGBTQ+ employees have not revealed their sexual orientation at work
- Other Quick Facts about Texas LGBTQ+ community
At Port Houston, as we continue our journey towards becoming America’s distribution hub for the next generation, we are committed to making the next generation kinder and more accepting than the last – striving to do what is right within our organization and throughout our community.
How to Honor Pride Month
Pride month is a perfect time to focus on educating ourselves. Take some time this month to read about the history, challenges and dynamics of the LGBTQ+ population in America. https://www.history.com/tag/lgbt-history https://www.americanprogress.org/article/state-lgbtq-community-2020/
You don’t have to identify as LGBTQ+ to support the movement. Like gender-based movements, having allies of all different backgrounds is important to progress and necessary to see change. Check out some basic tips and resources on how to be a good ally and friend to LGBTQ+ people. https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/relationships-love/a28159555/how-to-be-lgbtq-ally/