In honor of the 2014 National Pride Month we want to call out 9 individuals and some of our favorite quotes contributing significant stories and moments to the LGBT communities. It's important to understand our history but it's even more important to recognize the outstanding people propelling us to where we need to go.
'Tell me again how you think god will judge others for who they love, and not judge you for hating someone you've never met?'
'Make sure that you always follow your heart and your gut, and let yourself be who you want to be, and who you know you are. And don't let anyone steal your joy.'
Sarah Kate Ellis
'Women's voices have long led the LGBT movement. On the ground and in the public eye, behind the scenes and at the forefront – women have been shaping the narrative, shining a light on the multiplicity of experiences and driving success. Women bring a distinct set of leadership skills to the movement that encourage collaboration and empower the movement to reach new heights.'
'I'm not afraid to tell the world who I am. I'm Michael Sam: I'm a college graduate. I'm African-American, and I'm gay.'
James Duke Mason
'This applies to not only coming out to your parents but friends and in general. What I think is important is that coming out happens again and again throughout your life to many people. You should never have to apologize for who you are. There is nothing wrong with being proud. Some people have an idea that you have to choose between being a member of society or the gay community. The fact is they are not mutually exclusive. You can be a proud gay person and still have straight friends. You don't have to choose.'
'I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility. I also do it selfishly, because I’m tired of hiding. And I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of that pain.'
'My whole world changed, right there and then. Of course, I still fancy girls, but right now I'm dating a guy and I couldn't be happier. I feel safe and it just really does feel right.'
'Gay guys who hate on feminine gay guys give gays a bad name. Not the other way around. The rainbow is our symbol to represent all shades in our community. Not just the most masculine shade. Until you accept all those shades you don't have gay pride. You have self pride.'
'I have done well as a boxer, I've only lost two of my 21 fights. I won those other fights but, all this time, I have been living with this thorn inside me. I wanted to take it out of me so I could have peace within myself. People have died because of this. I am proud to be Puerto Rican, just like I am proud to be a gay man. But I was sad and angry for a long time because there are two doors to death over this one issue. There is suicidal death – when a gay man cannot stand being unaccepted and takes his own life. And there is homophobic murder. In both these situations I want to be a force for change.'
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May the progress and equality for the LGBT community continue to grow and inspire.