Andrew's remarks at the LeboPride 2023 Pride Celebration.
Welcome to Mt. Lebanon!
We’re gathered here today to honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community and to celebrate its legacy and progress. We are here to find joy. We’re here to let our kids be kids, running around and laughing with their friends; to find a new wellspring of strength in the arms of a community that sees each of us for who we are, and to celebrate the amazing beauty and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community.
My name is Andrew Flynn. I am one of the Commissioners here in Mt. Lebanon and the proud father of a transgender son.
It’s such an honor to be here with all of you and to see so many friends. As I look around, I’m reminded that all of us want what everyone else wants: The chance to be who we are and love who we love and make a good life for our families. And all of us deserve that.
Pride is a celebration, but it is also a call to action. We know that this year’s Pride is caught between the push and pull of progress. There are too many people who want to drag our country backward.
We need to push back against the hundreds of callous and cynical bills and laws introduced across the nation and here in Pennsylvania targeting transgender children, terrifying families, and criminalizing doctors, nurses, and educators.
I had the privilege of attending the Pride Celebration at the White House last weekend with my son. We met so many amazing people but one family’s story really resonated with me. My son was playing Volleyball on the South Lawn with some other kids, one of whom was a 6-year-old trans girl named Judy. Judy has known she was a girl since the age of 2. As they played I talked to Judy’s grandmother. They live in Florida and had great experiences with their school just like my family has had at Jefferson. That is until Governor Desantis signed the Don’t Say Gay law.
A few weeks ago, Judy was talking to her friends at lunch during school, and kids being kids, Judy told her little group of friends that she was born a boy but is a girl. Well, someone overheard that and pulled Judy out of school and called her parents into the Principal's office. Simply because Judy was explaining who she is in a community that, by all accounts, has been very welcoming.
So make no mistake, these bills and laws attack the most basic values and freedoms we have as Americans: the right to be yourself, to freely express yourself, to have the freedom to learn, the right to make your own health decisions, the right to raise your own children.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community — especially people of color and trans people — continue to face discrimination and cruel, persistent efforts to undermine their human rights.
Too many people in this community and their families are worried and afraid about their future and their safety. So today, I want to send a message to the entire LGBTQIA+ community, especially transgender children: I SEE you. We see you. Your community sees you. We see your incredibly bright future. You don’t have to look or act in any particular way to be part of this community. You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. You are unstoppable as you are. And you belong! This community has your back.
The Mt. Lebanon Commission is striving to do its part. In May, we signed a proclamation recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + Pride Month. The proclamation affirmed our commitment to visibility, dignity and equity for all people in the community. Last year, we unanimously passed a resolution detailing the Municipality's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to fostering a culture of belonging throughout the community.
There is much work to be done and we are committed to doing and being better and this effort is continuing in all areas of the Municipality, including municipal leadership, staff, volunteers, and the delivery of service to all of you.
I hope you always know that you are enough. Continue to be you, be the best you. Love yourselves, and most importantly, love and support each other.
Thank you for celebrating with us here in Mt. Lebanon today and have a safe and happy Pride!