This greeting can be heard throughout the month of June – at the market, at the library, at the park – as the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride Month. A frequent question we get asked, though, is...
“Why do we celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month?”
We celebrate Pride Month, because the LGBTQ+ Community – like other marginalized communities – has had to fight for equal rights. It has been a long fight, and one that continues today. Pride Month is a time to celebrate the strides made by our community while continuing to fight for equality and acceptance throughout our Country. We choose to focus on the positive strides that have been made but are certainly aware of many that are still targeted and living in fear.
The beginnings of Pride go back to New York on the morning of January 1, 1967, undercover police officers violently brutalized and arrested dozens of people for the crime of kissing others of the same sex to celebrate the New Year. Weeks later, hundreds of people in Los Angeles came together for a peaceful demonstration at the Black Cat Tavern in Silverlake. In 1969 – incidentally the same year Penny Lane was founded – police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York, arresting many for the crime of being themselves in public. This happened in June of 1969 which is why today June is recognized as Pride Month in celebration and homage to the courage of those who stood up for their rights.
In 2010, when my wife and I got married, it wasn’t legally recognized. Since that time, the LGBTQ+ Community has made a lot of progress when it comes to basic human rights – but there has been backlash as well. Rights are currently being taken away from members of our community. As of this writing, at the beginning of June 2023 there have been 555 bills introduced across the country that seek to block trans and gender-diverse people from receiving basic healthcare, education, legal recognition, and the right to publicly exist.
Penny Lane has fought to support the LGBTQ+ community since it’s founding. From its beginnings as a group home for teenage girls, sexual orientation was never something that caused a youth to be excluded from placement. Now, Penny Lane’s LGBTQ+ Programs have expanded to include several programs that support our LGBTQ+ youth. Our Embracing Identities program, in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health, provides case management and mentorship to youth aged 16-25. Our LGBTQ+ Support Groups (located in Lancaster, North Hills, Pasadena, and Commerce) provide support and community for our LGBTQ+ youth. Our Tailored Services to Youth Program, in collaboration with the Department of Children and Family Services, provides case management and mentorship to youth ages 2-25 who have a current or previous DCFS case. And finally, Penny Lane has a training program that offers both our comprehensive LGBTQ+ Toolkit Training, as well as shorter, personalized trainings for professionals and others on how to best support our LGBTQ+ youth.
Penny Lane is committed to transforming the lives of all we serve but we do have a special place in our hearts for the vulnerable LGBTQ+ community. All of us at Penny Lane wish you a happy Pride month. For more information on Penny Lane’s LGBTQ+ Programs, please reach out to Summer Gomez at SuGomez@pennylane.org or 818-588-1583.
On Wednesday, May 10th Penny Lane Centers held the 13th annual EDGY conference. Professionals and clients came together to discuss how we can better serve our GLBTQ youth and families. From the myriad of resource tables and keynote speakers and workshops, EDGY 2023 proved to be an impactful and empowering moment for everyone to discuss how we can better support the LGBTQIA+ community.
Cameron Glasgow, our Director of Marketing and EDGY Conference Chair, opened the day by saying “You don’t’ have to be so strong.”
We often tell people “Be Strong” or “Stay Strong.” The message that Cameron shared is that you don’t’ have to be so strong because there are people who can support you. As hundreds of people gathered at the Skirball Center we made a collective promise to support our LGBTQIA+ youth and families so they don’t have to be so strong and they don’t have to feel so feel alone.
This message was shared throughout the day as speakers spoke of community resources, interventions, and support from several community partners. The day was filled with keynote speakers, panelists, workshops, and a robust resource fair. A highlight of the day came in the form of video testimonials by a current and a previous PLC youth. Both opened up and shared their stories with vulnerability and transparency. They showed their strength, but also relied on the strength and support of others to get them to where they are today. Participants applauded as these two took to the stage to answer questions and highlight the power of community and how we can all make a difference in the lives of our EDGY youth.
EDGY creates a space for connection. Community partners meet and greet each other. There is an exchange of ideas and interventions with the mindset that we are all there to learn how we can better serve the youth and families entrusted to us. No one claims to be an expert, but rather recognizes the importance of learning from each other. When we come together and share our experiences, ideas and perspectives great things can happen to all our communities.
Penny Lane Centers is proud to be an agency of action where we work to make a difference in the lives of our clients. We are proud to have been conducting the EDGY conference for 13 years. We sincerely thank all our participants, presenters, partners, and volunteers, without whom, none of this would be possible. We thank our youth for trusting us with their stories, knowing that we will continue to work with them and for them so they don’t have to be so strong.
Check out some pictures of the EDGY Conference below!