A Personal History of Pride

My 86-year-old mom is awesome (ahead-of- her-time and cutting-edge). I was raised with the most amazing, open-minded parents, with my mom as the primary driver. In fact, she’s also known as “Chief Mom” at BOCA, found on our team page under “Operations”. My dad admired her, emotionally supported her and let her lead our family. 

Why do I lead with my mom in a blog about Pride? 

I grew up surrounded by gay men and women — in fact, more gay men than gay women. In the 1980s (smack-dab in the middle of “The Christian Right Movement” and Ronald Reagan), my mom owned a travel agency. Her core demographic? Gay men. She spearheaded cruises that catered to gay men and she organized marriage ceremonies aboard the cruise ships while on international waters. The ships traveled up and down the Mexican Riviera — specifically, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and the Mexico gay mecca of the 80s — Acapulco. Today, Puerto Vallarta is the official home of the Romantic Zone and the No. 1 gay vacation destination in all of Mexico. (Sidebar, my mom lives in Puerto Vallarta now with my sister, after years of living at The Hamilton in San Francisco.) 

My sister and I had the great fortune of watching her do her thing. She was so fabulous, and her clients appreciative and happy, became her good friends. I was inspired to be with so many amazing people enjoying their lives, many of them in love. My mom made sure her children understood that love wasn’t exclusive to straight, heterosexual couples. She encouraged us to have open minds and support same-sex love in the mainstream.

I applaud her initative during a time when most Americans in the mid-80s didn’t really talk about the LGBTQ+ community. It was a subculture that was more present in major cities such as New York or San Francisco. The documentary film “Paris is Burning,” which premiered in 1990, documents the gay culture (also known as the “ball culture”) in New York City among the African-American, Latino, gay and transgender communities. I’ll never forget that movie. It touched upon so much — race, class, gender and sexuality in America. I encourage folks to watch it if they haven’t; it is moving. 

Where am I going with all of this? 

June is recognized as Pride Month because it was on June 28, 1969 that an NYPD raid at a gay bar in Greenwich Village led to six days of protests and riots. Now known as the Stonewall Riots, it’s thought to be a major catalyst for the LGBTQ+ movement around the world. Forty-six years later, on June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage became legal in the United States. And, as we grapple with the possibility of these human rights once again coming under attack,  it is more important than ever to speak up and speak out. 

The pandemic forced a halt to many Pride Month festivities over the past few years. Furthermore, the pandemic pushed the entire world to “shelter in place” and so many people suffered in silence.  In fact, according to The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide. Additionally, 60% of youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it.

You may ask: What is The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide.

BOCA is matching all employee donations to The Trevor Project of up to $100.00. We encourage our friends to support the LGBTQ+ community along with us by donating to this amazing organization. We need to rid the world of hate and embrace a world of love and acceptance. BOCA is proud to support our LGBTQ+ friends today and everyday! 

#BOCALove #TheTrevorProject #Pride2022 

Kathleen Shanahan
BOCA’s Founder 

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