NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Even with Pride Week events over in Buffalo, there are still plenty of events going on in Western New York to celebrate the event, including a few coming up from Niagara Pride.
2 On Your Side sat down with Niagara Pride's President Ronald Piaseczny to talk about what events they have coming up and what ways people can support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year.
"Pride Month is obviously that big, celebratory time that we get to see a lot of people in the community come out. They enjoy the basically the celebration aspect of all the things that we have accomplished and the ability to be out and open," Piaseczny said.
"However, I think what we still need to work on and still want the world to know is that even though we have seen great advances in people being more out more open, more representation, whether it's politics or media, we still have a lot and a long ways to go."
Piaseczny reported that a community survey found that LGBTQ+ individuals polled reported that 39% would not reach out to law enforcement if they were in a situation that law enforcement was required out of fear of discrimination.
People also reported on the survey that they are disappointed in the lack of local representation in politics.
One issue that was also reported was trouble finding health care providers. Piaseczny was happy to share that they actually have a directory on the Niagara Pride website on local medical, legal, counseling, accounting, spiritual, housing, youth, and other services who offer either LGBTQ+ specific programming and/or offer LGBTQ+ affirming services.
Niagara Pride has some more celebrations coming up at the end of the month as well as some the last for all of June.
Family Fun Day takes place on June 25 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls, Niagara Pride is hosting a WNY Pride 5K and WNY Shopping with Pride event that will last the whole month.
The 5K is a virtual event that can be done anytime throughout the month. Participants get a T-shirt and a medal. Registration is $45 at www.wnypride5k.org.
WNY Shopping with Pride highlights locally owned LGBTQ+ and ally businesses. Business participating or information for registering is available on www.wnyshoppingwithpride.org.
While Niagara Pride has a variety of resources available, they still see work to be done in the community by allied organizations.
"So definitely one of the things that we want to see and we are very thrilled that some of our community partners will be joining us, it's going out and actually participating in those pride events. Being they're having a presence, showing that they do support the LGBTQ community," Piaseczny said.
"But as I always challenge organizations don't just do that during June because that's when it's the most visible, which is the same message that I have when it's Black History Month, or if it's Asian American Pacific Islander month, develop programming that is sustainable throughout the year."