Speaking With Pride, Not Prejudice: Sarah McBride Reflects on the Power of LGBTQ Voices

Sarah McBride is a prominent LGBTQ activist, fiercely advocating for the rights of the transgender community. She is the author of "Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality" the story of her life and mission to secure trans rights around the globe. Sarah McBride pens an empowering reflection for MAKERS on Pride Month and the power of LGBTQ voices.

Every June, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community comes together to mark Pride Month, a time when LGBTQ people throughout America and around the world boldly and joyfully declare our lives and our worth—and when we recommit ourselves to the unfinished fight for equality.

And while rainbow flags and parades have been synonymous with Pride Month, it has never just been about floats or colorful marchers. It's also a month about our power: the redemptive power of self-love, the singular power of our presence, and the fact that no matter the challenges that come our way, our voices will always matter.

(Sarah McBride)
(Sarah McBride)

Today, with LGBTQ people under constant attack by our federal government, it has never been a more important time for our community to return to our roots of resistance, to lift our voices as individuals and as a collective in the call for change.

Since taking office, the Trump-Pence Administration has governed through bigotry and bluster. They've rescinded lifesaving guidance promoting the protection of transgender students, granted a sweeping license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, appointed anti-equality extremists to the federal bench, and sought to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.

Despite all of these attacks—and so many more—we have also seen that every time anti-equality politicians come for us, our community ends up having a conversation with this country that opens hearts, changes minds, and, in the end, leads to the destruction of the politics of hate that these politicians seek to implement.

Sarah McBride advocates for trans equality on Capitol Hill.
Sarah McBride advocates for trans equality on Capitol Hill.

We saw the power of our voices in the aftermath of the passage of HB2 in North Carolina, the anti-transgender law signed into law by their since-defeated governor Pat McCrory. We saw it after the president sought to reinstate his ban on transgender troops and a bipartisan chorus responded with outrage and opposition.

Last year, I was in Texas for a transgender lobby day at the State Capitol to battle the dozen anti-equality bills that had been introduced. Scattered throughout the unprecedented crowd of four hundred people, I spotted dozens of trans youth. Young transgender kids like Libby, Marilyn, and Max, who I watched march into the Texas State Capitol with their heads held high to demand dignity and justice.

In one hand they held the knowledge of all of the hate that exists in this world. In the other, they clung to the knowledge that their identities are worth celebrating and that their voices matter.

If these young kids can hold those seemingly contradictory notions in their mind and soul and still walk forward from a place of pride and power, so can all of us.

As a transgender woman, it has been a long but empowering journey for me to recognize the power in my own voice. But since coming out six years ago, I've seen that when we speak out and fight back, we can still move equality forward.

From the 1969 Stonewall Uprising to the steps of the Supreme Court, we have seen that our voices as LGBTQ people represent authenticity, history, and love. It is through this power that we have transformed impossibility into possibility. And we have turned possibility into reality.

So this Pride, as we celebrate our identities, let us also celebrate the unrivaled power of our own voices and the change they will bring.