2018 is a monumental year for LGBTQ+ Restonions. On Saturday June 2, 2018, the Unitarian Universalist Church will be hosting Reston’s first Pride festival. The event is no surprise to those who know the caring, inclusive community of which Reston is comprised; it was just a matter of when. The event will begin at 2 pm and last until 6 pm. The day will be led by MC and drag performance artist Mama Celeste, and local faith leaders as well as performing artists will join in to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. While unfortunately many people view Pride festivals as pretentious or unnecessary, the goal message has always been the same: everyone is welcome. The purpose of such events is not to advertise “unconventional” sexualities and genders but to spread the underlying concept of love and inclusion. It is not about labels, politics or anything else others try to warp the conversation into.
“There are few places for the LGBTQ+ community to congregate without fear, and I am incredibly excited and proud that there are queer movements happening in my very own city. As a person who falls under multiple categories of queerness— I am non binary, certainly not straight, and nor am I particularly fond of adhering to gender stereotypes— I look forward to this event with intense anticipation. I am delighted at the opportunity to participate in a cause that supports the equality and rights of all human beings, regardless of who is attracted to who, and with no concern as to how people who are gender nonconforming choose to express themselves,” sophomore Ryan van Hilst said.
As Pride month nears, just remember to treat everyone with the same respect and kindness, regardless of who they are or who they love. For the LGBTQ+ members out there, remember this month as a chance to remind yourself that your identity is valid, and no one can take that away from you. Whether you are out or still waiting for the right moment, you are valued. I hope the month of June will help you celebrate every part of you.