June is PRIDE Month, which is a time for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate that love comes in all forms.
Joining us to talk about all things PRIDE is psychologist Dr. Greg Cason.
Key Takeaways from Liz’s talk with Dr. Greg:
• Hear Dr. Cason’s background and how he got into the field
• Learn the history of the PRIDE movement
• Find out why major corporations being involved in PRIDE is a double-edged sword
• Learn what rainbow washing is
• Hear a message from Dr. Cason to anyone struggling with coming out
All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.
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[00:00:00] Now more than ever. We have an opportunity to be a positive force in the world to help heal the divide, to treat each other and ourselves with respect. What was so many tools out there from meditation to physical training, proper nutrition therapy, and so many others. We all need a little help navigating all the options.
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Hello, and welcome to calm. Cool and connected. I'm your host, Dr.
Elizabeth Fedrick June is pride month, which is a time for the LGBTQ plus community to come together and celebrate that love comes in so many forms. Many people aren't aware that pride stands for the personal rights and defense and education, and was an organization established in the 1960s to really push back against the oppression that was being experienced by so many.
Joining us today is [00:01:00] Dr. Greg Kason. Dr. Greg is here to share with us about the pride movement, the history of it, and how it's evolved since the sixties. Hi, Dr. Greg. Welcome
Dr. Cason: back. It's very good to be here.
Dr. Liz: so good to have you. Thank you. So for our viewers that maybe didn't catch your last episode with us.
Can you provide us just with a little bit of your background and history in the mental health field before we jump.
Dr. Cason: Ah, my, my history in the mental health field goes way back. I'm a psychologist. I've been in the field for over 20 years. I've certainly worked probably what really brought me into the field of psychology was the issue of aids that I was experiencing as a young man.
And as a young gay man, and also growing up being gay also influenced me to be a mental health professional among other things. So I've, worked in many roles. Worked at different aids organizations, including aids project, Los Angeles gay counseling center. I now have a private practice here in Los Angeles.
Dr. Liz: That's amazing. So you have done a lot of great work over these past [00:02:00] couple decades of in the mental health
Dr. Cason: field. well, we'll keep our fingers crossed with the great part, but certainly
Dr. Liz: a lot of work you absolutely are very inspiring to many of us. So tell us today, we wanna talk about the history of the pride movement and let's start by talking about a lot of people don't know.
I would say majority people don't know the history of this. Can you share with us where the pride movement started and how it's.
Dr. Cason: Well realized the gay community was in oppressed community in a fairly major way. They were second class citizens. We were seen as a crime against nature in the us penal code.
People were arrested frequently for showing same sex demonstration are kissing each other. Let's say two men kissing two women kissing or men dressing as women, women dressing as men. So we were seeing these things were just crimes that were frequently arrested and there was a bar in 1969 In the Christopher street area, the west village area of New York called the Stonewall Inn and the Stonewall Inn was frequented by drag Queens. People [00:03:00] who worked as sex workers people who were trans bisexual, all these. Different types of people that went into this bar and the police frequently rated this bar.
And then one night in 1969, someone decided they were going to fight back. And the primary people that fought back were actually transgender women. So we have much to thank to transgender women who got out and just started attacking the police as, as did many other patrons for trying to arrest them.
And then that became the Stonewall Rio. The pride celebration that we frequently hear and talk about and see on the streets, et cetera, then grew out of a year later there was a pride parade in New York city and it was marked then in every other major city, after that, as time went on and now it's all around the world.
Dr. Liz: Wow. That is such an interesting backstory. And I think really important for a lot of people to hear of where this really, I mean, the oppression that it came out of, and we know that. The point of [00:04:00] it is that we're pushing back against the oppression, but to really hear the history of it just puts it in a different light.
For sure. And what would you say are some of the benefits, the benefits of the ongoing pride movement, especially for individuals who maybe haven't come out yet or struggling
Dr. Cason: with it. So realize the majority of people that especially back then were completely in the closet, hidden, married. They, they lived different lives.
And the pride parade was really a small group of people who were brave enough to stand up, have things thrown at them. And to be able to say, I am who I am. That's that's what it is. It was not only an assertion of their own mental health and their own rights and their own personhood, but it was also helping all these other people who were the majority of people to know that they were not alone.
And that's how pride serves us to continually to this day, we, we see a small section of people who go to these prize, but what we don't know is what it. To the entire world, especially of LGBTQ [00:05:00]IA plus plus people who are out there who are sitting at home, who are hiding who they are, but know that they have a community out there.
And when they go to a pride event, it's probably the one event within our community that you see every single type of person. And that's probably one of its greatest accomplishment.
Dr. Liz: That's really powerful. Dr. Greg that's like, when you think about, think about it in that light of this coming together of people there, so they can be themselves.
And then the coming together of people there to support that. Mm-hmm, , that's huge from a mental health perspective. We were talking before the show started about some of the corporation influence on the pride movement and how there's some, maybe nuances and complexities that a lot of people aren't aware of.
Can you share with us about
Dr. Cason: that? So the corporations have rarely been involved, realized that the gay people in general were just verboten. They were the worst thing in the world to even have an ad that would [00:06:00]suggest that you're okay with a gay customer would get you banned by the Christian conservative.
So they were very light to Tre tread into this. Of course there were certain early organizations like absolute vodka who was, who was always putting out that they were gay, friendly, but most. Products were not now fast forward. They, they see that this is a big commercial community and they wanna take away their own negative image about things.
So they're starting to put out themselves with rainbow symbols and saying, they're good with gay, et cetera, but they, a lot of organizations and it's a big issue within the community right now are engaging in something called rainbow washing and rainbow washing is when they will present their positive toward gays in sort of.
A symbol or a, some, an advertisement or something like that, but they give great sums of money to anti-gay organizations. And so this has been very problematic within the community who feel invalidated because you say you like [00:07:00] us, but then you're actively giving money to people who are working to take away our rights or to discriminate against us.
So it's, it's a, it can be a very hurtful. I
Dr. Liz: mean, really, we would boil that down to psychological abuse if that was in a personal relationship, right? Like almost a, a gas lighting of sorts. Well,
Dr. Cason: we could call yes. It is a gas lighting of sorts. And it's kind of interesting cuz you know, if we're saying corporations are people, then I would say, absolutely this is like a psychological abuse relationship.
Dr. Liz: I mean, that is just would be so confusing. And then some of these bigger corporations. It's like, how do you avoid them? And that really would put the gay community in a hard position of. How can we still advocate for ourselves without losing out on this product or this service? Well,
Dr. Cason: that's why I think what right now is pride is more important than ever, especially people coming out, especially people around the country, especially people around the world.
There are countries where you still get killed for being gay. That is a fact. And in fact, in this [00:08:00] country, we just had a major party, the Republican party in Texas just declared that the gays are an abnormal lifestyle choice as part of their. Form. We have what's happening in Florida with the so-called don't say gay bill.
We have the what's happening in Texas with parents of a trans parents being investigated for being abusive to their own child. So it's all seen in such a negative light that we need pride to help pull the community together. To band together to be together and to show to other people, especially those in the closet that it can be okay out here, even though other voices are trying to stamp you down.
Dr. Liz: And before we wrap up, what would be maybe just one message that you could give to anyone listening who is maybe struggling with coming out or struggling. What that means for them, just even a nugget of hope before we
Dr. Cason: wrap up, you know, I was the first national coordinator for the very first national coming out day, way back when in 19, I don't know, 80 [00:09:00] something.
And. What I will say is to, to follow our recommendation, which is just take it easy. Don't think you have to fly out of the closet, just take your next step. Whatever's comfortable for you. Take that step this month during pride month, this is the perfect time. And that next step will lead to another step will lead to another step, but take it at your own pace because it's up to you to, to help yourself remain psychologically safe as you go through this process.
Dr. Liz: Yes. I love that. So important. Thank you so much for being here, Dr. Greg, I appreciate your insights as always. Thank you. And thank you all for tuning in to this episode of calm, cool and connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well.
Thank you again for joining us on this episode of calm. Cool and connected.