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  • Writer's pictureBeth Burke

Welcome to Pride Month

As most of us know June is the month of rainbows and colored flags otherwise known as Pride! Many cities around the country have events and parades to celebrate the leaps and bounds that have been made in the area of civil rights. Many of the people against the celebration of Pride say that it is not fair to have a set time of the year to say that gays are good or to throw gays in peoples faces. That is not the point of Pride and to be honest those people should be happy that they don't need to set aside a time to say that it is alright for them to love the person they love.

This topic is of a personal nature to me as an author and as a person. I have several friends who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and I of course am a huge Ally. I was raised to treat everyone with respect no matter what they believed in or if I agreed with them or not, with that in mind this was never really a huge issue for me until I was an adult.

Once I was in college and out in the real world I began to see that not everyone was raised with the same values that I was. A close friend of mine told me he was gay. I have known this guy through high school and college. He is one of my closest friends. He was even in our group that went to prom together. For me personally it didn't make much of a difference, he was still the same great friend and person he had been when he dated girls. The fact that we could check out guys together didn't change that fact. Although the thought of that did make him laugh and broke the tension of the moment. That is not to say that this moment didn't have an impact on me. Although the fact that he is gay didn't change our relationship at all the events that followed changed everything.

It was nothing that Seth did or said that changed anything it was the way the others around him acted and changed that caught my attention. Some began to act like he was poison and others acted as if he was an eggshell and would break or get offended if they said the wrong thing. Others even got angry and aggressive towards him, as if he had lied to them. Even other just simply walked away from him. The worst of course were the people that reacted with hate. This was a real eye opener for me and the first time I was faced with any type of discrimination. The hate was even focused at me since I has supporting Seth. This experience taught me several important lessons. The first was to always stand your ground for those you care about and for what you believe in. The second was that there are hate in world for those who are different. From that point on Seth was not only my friend but my brother as well.

Ever since then I have been a ally an activist for equal rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community. This is also the reason I like to show different types of relationships in my stories. I believe that all relationships are valid as long as they are consensual. I wanted to use my stories to show how these nontraditional type of relationships are just as normal and just as loving as those of what we might call a traditional relationship. There is a reason that those around the main characters act as if the relationship is completely normal, because it should be. Every relationship is different even within a 'traditional' relationship the dynamic between the people within the relationship is unique to them and if it works for them, who are you to say that it is wrong. They are the ones that live with that relationship and that dynamic and if they are truly happy that is what should matter the most.

My latest book Uncaged is about a stable triad relationship, that is a committed relationship between three people. This is definitely not what most people would call traditional. However if you read the story the dynamic works for them and it is no mistake that the people in their lives accept their relationship as normal. This is what I wish for our world, that all loving relationships be accepted as they are. I know however that is not how the real world works and I do include a few side characters that show the hate and judgment that I know to be present in the world today. I want to be able to bring an understanding of different type of relationships to the world as well as to bring an understanding of the damage that hate and judgement can bring to the people that are the focus of that hate and judgement.

As we move through June and you see the colored flags and rainbows on every piece of merchandise around think about all the leaps and changes that have been made in order to make it possible for those colors to be shown so openly and think about all the places in the world where that can still get you killed. There are still an estimated 70 countries in the world where homosexuality is still illegal and about 10 where it is still punishable by death.

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