June is Pride Month - a time to reflect on and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history.
Hope Rises spoke with Danny Maffia, a gay man married to the love of his life, Justin, and who together adopted twin babies.
Danny had this powerful message on what it means to have PRIDE for his sexual orientation, and why he is not ashamed to be gay.
His words here.
Pride isn't just a month to me, it's a state of mind. It's a constant in my life. Pride is about living every day out with integrity and honesty, so I can make a difference for others.
Pride is about remembering where our community came from, and how far we still need to go. It is a time to reflect upon all those who have come before me to fight for our rights that were not always equal.
Many people who are interested in the history of LGBTQ rights should look up the "Stonewall Riots". There was a time when not only could we not marry someone of the same sex, but we would be punished in various forms for who we loved.
In 2003, as a 16-year-old boy in Pennsylvania, coming out as a gay was not easy. The hardest part beyond the fear of being made fun of, and being disowned by my family, was that I would not be able to legally marry. Not being able to marry also meant I could not have a family. I wanted nothing more than to have kids.
I realized that on my wedding day in May of 2016 that federally same sex marriages were only recognized less than one year prior. It is astonishing to see that in my life time so many changes have happened. Since being married I now have adopted two beautiful twins. Pride not only means looking back but also looking ahead to the future. Looking forward to a world where my kids grow up and are proud that they have two dads!
This year, I will proudly be marching in the Buffalo Pride Parade (6/3/18) with my husband and our twins, Parker and Emma, representing Adoption Star, the agency that we used to adopt our twins. I also have the honor of being the American Sign Language/English interpreter for the Pride festival events. So needless to say Pride is a great time for me to reflect on being proud for being different and appreciating the diversity we have around us.
Often I hear around February from some, "Why don't we have a white history month?" or "Where is the straight pride month?"
My response to that is: "Gay Pride or any minority celebrated holiday was not born out of a need to celebrate being gay, but instead, our right to exist without prosecution. So instead of wondering why there isn't a straight pride month or movement, we should be thankful they don't need one. Never has a person lost their job for being white or straight in North America, or been denied an apartment for being white and straight, or been leered at or attacked by strangers for simply holding hands with their significant others. There is a level of social and systemic privilege not afforded to many members of the LGBTQ community in North America, and certainly in many countries around the world."