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Keeping Pride alive when June ends

Dr. Emma Church says she has hope for a brighter tomorrow for the LGBTQ+ community

WACO, Texas — Pride month has come and gone. Some people will turn the other cheek and forget all about the LGBTQ community. While those who are a part of that community do not have the luxury of ignoring the truth they live every day.

Dr. Emma Church, a clinical psychologist in Waco who specializes in holistic trauma therapy, says this year especially there's a bit of a feeling of uncertainty as we close the door on pride month.

"I think this year in particular, at the end of pride, there is a level of somberness and kind of sobriety too, there are still a lot of issues around our health and our rights that are up in the air," Church said. "I'm seeing a lot of fear at the end of Pride Month, this year in 2022."

People on the internet constantly joke about the fact that corporations and others will change their social media to fit the pride month acknowledgment for the month. However, as soon as the clock strikes midnight on July 1, all of that ends. Church says that calls into question the validity of these corporations who claim to be allies.

"There's this intentional, deeper look into the motivations behind why people participate in things like pride in the way that they do," she said. "You know, this is a cultural movement, we can capitalize on this and sell some products."

But even as some people move past pride month, Church says for the members of the LGBTQ community who can't run away from their truth, they can't do the work alone. Those who claim to be allies should do the work to understand the plight of the oppressed rather than being comfortable with where the community is at, Church explained.

"If you are wanting to be an ally and advocate continue to seek out new information, new information through caring relationships, through watching documentaries, reading articles, hearing more and more stories so that you can really keep this thing that is pride alive because it is the story of an entire population."

But there's hope for the future, she says. In her time working in Waco seeing patients, young and old, becoming more comfortable in their sense of self. They are embracing being apart of the LGBTQ community and not letting others dictate how they can live their life.

"I'm not seeing the same types of significant self-hatred and self-loathing that I have seen for the past 13 years of practice in my adult patients," Church said. "Their own self-acceptance gives me hope for future generations that are born into an idea that they are okay just as they are, who they are and that if somebody has a problem with that, that might strike them as strange."

Church emphasizes the importance of relationships, understanding, and compassion as she hopes to see a world where one day it's not the "Suffering Olympics" but rather a society working together to heal and progress.

"Relationships, love, become more important than ever when we're looking at oppressed communities," Church continued. "People need to do the work to understand one another and then maybe people won't feel the need to resort to fight or flight, anger, depression and sometimes even suicide. The more we work on relationships with one another and gaining understanding, we'll be able to recognize pride is more than June. There are 11 other months in the year to recognize a community that constantly needs support."

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