PRIDE 2023

When I think of PRIDE month, a variety of emotions come to the surface for me as a queer woman. I am first filled with excitement and enthusiasm as we gear up for a month focused on really positive affirmations and inclusivity toward this community.

Being able to see messages of celebration for a community that has been under attack for so long, is refreshing and hopeful. Not growing up in a community that accepted or celebrated the LGBTQ+ population, it is a breath of fresh air for me to watch, listen, and read the ways that others are educating, centering voices, and encouraging the LGBTQ+ community. Observing families, businesses, and churches wrap around the community is inspiring and heals some of my own wounds from the past.

In the midst of the excitement, there is also grief. This month reminds me, and I am sure many others, of what is still missing in their life in terms of acceptance and affirmation or brings up situations from the past. As those of us in the LGBTQ+ community observe others celebrating, it isn’t always true for our own families and communities that we come from.

This is why PRIDE is so important to so many of us – especially if you have come from a background of feeling unworthy or less than for being gay. We tend to think about the harm and path that led us to where we are today. My journey is one of many who have had to deconstruct many false truths and lies to get to a place of embracing my fullest identify.

We will celebrate loudly because for once, we have arrived. Arrived to a place where no one else will tell us who we can be or what is not okay. A lot of us have put years and years of work into being here alive and healthy.

According to the Trevor Project, 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered suicide attempting suicide in the past year and 60% that wanted mental health care were not able to get it. Mental health is a serious issue among the LGBTQ+ population and there is still so much work to be done.

Do you want to make a difference this PRIDE? Be someone’s person, especially if they are in your own family. LGBTQ+ youth will feel empowered, heard, and accepted and you will reduce the thoughts of suicide rate by almost HALF. We all need to feel like we have social support, but our youth need this now more than ever.

Here at the YWRC, we will ALWAYS create a safe, inclusive, and proud space for our participants. Not only do they get to connect with their peers who welcome them fully, but they can create positive relationships with adults who will mentor, educate, and guide them.

We count on our allies to use this month to spread awareness, education, and support. And to find ways to move the needle forward in a state that is sadly making it a harder place to be if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community. I love that we get this month to shed celebration and light on a community of individuals that are still fighting to be seen, valued, and recognized. Will you join us?


Kari Zimmerman, LMSW
Executive Director