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Happy Pride!

June 3, 2024

Albany, NY: As an ally in the fight for equality, the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) proudly stands in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community as we celebrate Pride Month. This month is a time of joy, pride, and unwavering resilience as LGBTQI+ individuals and allies take to the streets to proclaim that their voices will not be silenced, their culture will not be erased, and they are here to stay.

Pride Month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan and honors the generations of LGBTQI+ people who have courageously fought to live openly and authentically. This month-long celebration recognizes the strides made toward equity, dignity, protection and freedom for all.

We acknowledge the unique challenges faced by LGBTQI+ individuals, including prejudice, discrimination, and violence. These stressors often lead to a higher prevalence of mental health issues and substance use within LGBTQI+ communities compared to their straight, cisgender counterparts. MHEP is committed to addressing these challenges by providing safe spaces, peer support, and resources to those in need.

One of the ways we offer support is through the Empowerment Exchange (EE). The EE holds a biweekly LGBTQ+ support space at Cafe Euphoria (225 River Street, Troy). You can expect food, community and support from people who have been there. The group meets every first and third Thursday from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm, with limited space for 10 people. Please call ahead to reserve your spot. For more information, contact us at 518-235-2173 or email lforney@mhepinc.org.

The resilience and courage of the LGBTQI+ community continues to be tested. Despite significant victories, we have faced a record number of anti-LGBTQI+ bills introduced and enacted across the country, with state legislatures particularly targeting the transgender community and LGBTQI+ youth. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade further threatened our progress, as Justice Clarence Thomas has called for Obergefell v. Hodges—the case that established nationwide marriage equality—to be “reconsidered.”

These hate-filled attacks aim to undermine the rights and well-being of LGBTQI+ individuals. MHEP remains dedicated to supporting the LGBTQI+ community by bolstering resilience, mitigating risks and addressing disparities and inequities through peer support and individual and systems advocacy. 

Together, we will continue to fight against discrimination and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable society. Let this Pride Month serve as a reminder of our collective strength and the importance of standing together in the face of adversity.

The fight continues.

With solidarity and pride,

The Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP)