June began with National Donut Day, which made it difficult to buy a donut past 8 p.m., and the festivities continued with Father’s Day on Sunday, June 17. However, June also highlights the LGBT rights movement with Pride Month, which was made official by the Obama administration in 2009.
Kelsey Woodhouse, a junior studying communication, is the president of the Understanding Same Gender Attraction Rexburg. The USGA is an unofficial group at BYU-Idaho, which focuses on strengthening the BYU-I community through respectful discussions on same-gender attraction and LGBT related topics, according to their website.
“People don’t think we exist,” Woodhouse said when responding to why Pride Month in Rexburg is important. “My boss was talking about a gay guy that he thinks he knows and my co-worker was like, ‘Gay in Rexburg, I doubt it.'”
Woodhouse said members of the LGBT community who are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are real people in Rexburg.
“We do not face hate crimes in Rexburg, but there is a little bit of discomfort,” Woodhouse said. “I have had roommates move out once they found out that I was gay, so there are serious things that make us feel uncomfortable to even be here because people think ‘I’m going to BYU-Idaho where it’s all the same people (straight).'”
In past years, the USGA Rexburg put together Ally Night to promote Pride Month. Ally Night is an event that is advertised around Rexburg in order to discuss the history of Pride Month, the Stonewall incident and to find a better understanding between the LGBT members and the Rexburg community.
The Stonewall incident was when the New York City police, having been issued a warrant, raided the Stonewall Inn, on June 28, 1969, on suspicion of illegal activity, according to the History Channel website. The police found bootlegged alcohol and arrested 13 people for violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statute at the gay club. This would lead to six days of protests outside the bar. The protestors questioned the equality in the law and the violent treatment given to the gay people detained.
This year instead of having Ally Night for Pride Month the USGA went to the Utah Pride festival instead.
Some students are uncomfortable with the idea of Pride Month and find it to be an unnecessary month to celebrate.
“You don’t see straight people ever going out and flaunting that they’re straight,” said Trace Beaucannon, a freshman studying animal science. “I do not think that Pride Month should be openly celebrated. You don’t have to go all out about it. You don’t have big celebrations for straight marriage.”
Beaucannon said that Pride Month feels like another moment where the LGBT community is forcing information on the public and not allowing people to have their own morals.
“It is important to understand the rights of the LGBT community because we all have rights; however, I feel like traditional values are being minimized and I am forced to accept something that contradicts my morals,” Beaucannon said.
Jacob Pehrson, the vice president of USGA Rexburg and a sophomore studying horticulture, said Pride Month highlights how the LGBT community has fought discrimination in the past.
Pehrson said when people see Pride Month on the news the enormous caricatures of people waving the Pride Flag and throwing skittles doesn’t represent everybody in the LGBT community.
“They’re (people in the LGBT community) just like everyday people that you see,” Pehrson said.
Editor’s Note: This article has been edited for accuracy.