Dear LGBTQ Reader,

As Pride Month graces the beautiful state of Maine, it makes me feel honored to celebrate with you.

This month gives me that powerful reminder of the progress that we have made towards acceptance. Celebrating pride gives all of us the ability to express our authentic selves and embrace everyone for who they are.

I am hoping that you all do this all the time and that pride month is only a reminder to keep up the fierce work.

Pride month is a beacon of hope for those who have yet to come out. So, if you are nervous and unsure of how your family, friends, and community will react to your true nature, we got you. You have a community of people to remind you that WE WERE BORN THIS WAY.

People like EqualityMaine, OutMaine, and NamiMaine are all here for you! Use the resources because we've all been there!

But let me remind of you something beautiful, YOU, inspire me.

As I go out into the world this month and notice you expressing yourself, it's like this black and white world becomes colorful again.

All because of you. No matter who you are, if you are straight or gay, if you are expressing your authentic self- I am so proud. Thank you, because I know it's so tough sometimes.

Trust me, I get it. The looks. The judgement. The whispers or even worse. They just don't understand yet. That's why normalizing our community is so important. Change is hard but if all we are doing is spreading love, we'll get there baby.

I am gay and that is the first time I have ever typed that out, believe it or not. For some reason I still felt ashamed to type that or even say it out loud. But that was the last bit of shame and stigma and now I am fully free.

I have been with the same woman for almost 15 years and we've been through our fair share of judgement and hate. But we don't focus on that and we pity the fools that can't accept our love.

Ripping away the holds that culture trends and the environment have on us is so freeing, isn't it?

The impact that this month has on me is intense and extends beyond the borders of this state. Far and wide I can only hope we are all celebrating ourselves and our identities from sea to shining sea.

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But as you and I know, there is still a ton of work to be done. So I want to offer who I am and all I have, to you. Remember the movie Harvey Milk? The impact that movie had won't be lost on me. Harvey was a visionary in the human rights movement back in the 70s. He became the first openly gay politician to be elected in office in California.

This was not an easy thing to do in those days. He fought hard and against a lot of adversity.

So let's follow Harvey's lead and inspire hope, dialogue, open empathy, and spark change in the hearts and minds of everyone.

The time has come to show your colors, all of them. I hope you are out, proud, and living the life you deserve.

Thank you for amplifying your dreams and letting that spark in your belly fly free.

Happy Pride Xx

Yours in solidarity,

Lizzy Snyder

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