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Flynn Williams and three other Students Demand Action volunteers smile for a photo together
LGBTQ+ Stories

Finding your identity does not define your worth

This year was the first time I went to Pride. I’ve recognized the importance of Pride for years though, as someone who didn’t have queer representation in my life for far too long. Seeing Pride parades and events with hundreds of gay people just being themselves and being happy made me realize that I’m not as alone as I thought.

As a queer activist, I know the LGBTQ+ community has been in the crossfire of hate crimes for decades. Black trans women are targeted on a large scale, and queer youth are more likely to die by suicide. Gun violence is an intersectional issue, and it is impossible to fix gun violence without addressing those intersectionalities—including how gun violence disproportionately affects the LGBTQ+ community.

I’ve been involved with Students Demand Action for three years. I was inspired to join Students Demand Action because I felt lawmakers were doing nothing to protect the lives of children, and it was painful to see headline after headline about shootings knowing that there were thousands more gun violence victims whose stories never got told.

I’m most proud of the community that we have built in Students Demand Action to support one another. Gun violence prevention is incredibly hard work, and to have people to rely on when you need a shoulder to cry on or to plan an event is inspiring.

It’s really easy to fall into only talking about marginalized communities—including those at the intersection of gun violence and LGBTQ+ rights—when it’s highlighted by society as a whole during Pride Month, but those voices should be uplifted throughout the year. It’s important to recognize that queer people do not stop being queer on July 1. We live with this every day, as do other marginalized communities.

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