Fortis Brown accepts a proclamation declaring June 11-17 ‘Annual LGBTQ+ Pride Week’ from Los Alamos County Councilor Randall Ryti, joined by members of the Friends of Los Alamos Pride. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Fortis Brown shows off a proclamation they accepted from Los Alamos County Council Tuesday evening. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos County Council meeting in regular session Tuesday evening proclaimed the second week of June “Annual LGBTQ+ Pride Week in Los Alamos County”. The proclamation notes that whereas “everyone has a right to live without fear or prejudice, discrimination, violence or hatred based on gender identity/expression or sexual orientation, it is imperative that everyone acknowledge and support diversity in their community – especially those communities that are most vulnerable”.
This year Los Alamos Pride Week is June 11-17 with the fourth in-person Pride Festival set for Friday, June 16, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the lawn in Central Park Square adjacent to Boese Bros Brewery and the Y Express.
“Whereas, June is national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Plus (LGBTQ+) Pride Month, it is desirable to bring together LGBTQ+ people and their allies to form a tangible community of support and acceptance in Los Alamos and the surrounding local areas, and to create and enhance visibility and support of diversity in our community. It is desirable to celebrate, educate and engage the community on the issues, contributions, culture and unique voice of LGBTQ+ people, and the impact LGBTQ+ people have on local and global communities,” the proclamation notes.
It states that it is essential that LGBTQ+ youth are supported by Los Alamos County and Northern New Mexico.
“According to the 2022 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, approximately one in six Los Alamos High School students identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or not sure. Statewide close to one in four of this student population had attempted suicide in the past year and were three times more likely to have been forced to have sex or experienced physical dating violence, and were twice as likely to be bullied at school,” the proclamation continues.
It notes that according to “Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth,” published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, visible LGBTQ+ sexuality-related social support from parents, friends, and community during adolescence each uniquely contributed to positive well-being in young adulthood, “making them less likely to report depressive symptoms, substance use, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors”. It urges urge citizens to respect and honor the diverse Los Alamos community and to celebrate and build a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance.
Fortiss Brown, a 10th grader at Los Alamos High School, accepted the Pride Proclamation on behalf of the Friends of Los Alamos Pride,
Fortiss Brown accepted the Pride is once again approaching, and I once again get the honour of standing before you all today and accepting the Pride Proclamation on behalf of Friends of Los Alamos Pride. They said time time and time again the people of Los Alamos come together to show support and celebrate the month of pride with the LGBTQ+ community.
“Los Alamos has been a safe haven from the raging tsunami of transphobia and homophobia enveloping the country in the past year. Thanks to the support of our representatives and community members, Los Alamos is a place LGBTQ+ people can truly be themselves,” Brown said. “However, things aren’t perfect. We’ve recently had community members call our right to exist into question. At the high school, we’ve had peers call us names and stare at us with faces of disgust. Yet, our community has shown up and supported us through thick and thin.”
They noted that earlier in May, many people came out to support the Drag Queen Story Hour at Mesa Public Library after someone asked for the book, “L’il Miss Hot Mess”, to be removed from the public library.
“This support is crucial for LGBTQ+ youth and adults,” Brown said. “In 2021, 27.2 percent of LGBTQ+ youth with little to no community support in New Mexico attempted suicide. This number goes down to 12.8 percent in communities where we are supported – communities like ours.”
Pride saves lives, they said, which is why it is important.
“I echo the message I ended my statement last year with: the LGBTQ+ community is not going anywhere. Pride is not going anywhere. We’re going to fight for pride, even if the entire country is against us. We’re going to fight for pride for the LGBTQ+ youth who feel like they don’t have a place. We’re going to fight for pride for the thousands of adults and kids who are different. We’re going to keep fighting for pride, no matter what,” Brown said.
Pride Week will be celebrated with multiple events yet to be announced.