It's about time! This year's Pride has been somewhat rocky, to say the least.
We've seen bigotry spreading like wildfire around the globe. Laws have been written and passed in some American states to restrict freedom of expression, and the discourse there is only heating up.
We've seen some pushback against those laws, and a number of other states are stepping up to strengthen protections for their LGBTQ+ citizens, but the situation is still deeply worrying.
The UK is following suit with similar discussions and 'debate' about whether people should have the basic right to live authentically and true to themselves, and the same kind of swirling phobic nonsense is infecting Canada as well.
Over in Uganda, rampant homophobia has grown to the point where new laws make same-sex love illegal. Gay people face life sentences for being caught engaging in a same-sex relationship, with the death penalty on the table for 'aggravated homosexuality', their new word for sexual assault.
It's been alarming to watch all of this unfold.
We're overdue for some good news, something to brighten our days and put a smile on our faces. Fortunately, I have just the thing. Let's hop over to Europe today and visit the Baltic States. Specifically, the country of Estonia.
Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia make up the three sovereign states of the Baltic Region. These are the three states that border the Baltic Sea, previously members of the Russian Empire who gained their independence after World War I.
Like many other countries in Europe, the Baltic States do not have a fantastic track record with regards to LGBTQ+ rights. Russia's homophobia is ironically helping to advance LGBTQ+ sentiments in Ukraine, but in most other post-Soviet states the feeling swings the other way.
The fact that a super conservative Christian MP in Ukraine is supporting civil union for same-sex couples, specifically because of Putin's homophobic bullshit, is both bizarre and hilarious. I mean...I'll take it!
Needless to say, homophobia and transphobia are deeply ingrained in many places across Eastern Europe. There is still a lot of ground to cover and a hard fight ahead to ensure equality for all, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
That's why the news coming out of Estonia is cause for celebration. Get your wine glasses and Pride flags, folks: Estonia is legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption!
This is a heck of a step forward for human rights, and a ray of hope that is sorely needed right now in the midst of hatred and fearmongering.
With everything going on in the United States, Canada, Uganda and the United Kingdom, we were sorely in need of something to bring us some good cheer.
Pride has historically been about revolution, a protest in favor of positive change and a refusal to be shamed for our identities. To be out in public, standing tall and free and rejecting others' demands that we be silent.
We've been expending that energy year-round these past few turns around the sun, slowly being drained of strength and losing faith that progress will keep rolling on.
Let's take this news out of Estonia as a shot of caffeine. Let this give us back our spark, give us the reminder that things can, and will, get better. Just so long as we keep fighting, we keep this train chugging along the tracks to a better world.
Dig your heels in, folks. This fight ain't over yet, and I don't know about you, but I don't plan on letting it knock me down.