It’s Pride month! Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month (LGBTQI+ Pride Month) is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and works to further the cause of equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans. Millions of people around the world take part in the annual month-long celebration, which includes parades, picnics, parties, workshops, and concerts. Memorials are also held each year to commemorate people in the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Ultimately the purpose of Pride month is to recognize the impact that (LGBTQI+) individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
The Stonewall Uprising was a series of events between police and LGBTQI+ protesters that stretched over six days. It was not the first time police had raided a gay bar, and it was not the first time LGBTQI+ people fought back, but the events that unfolded over the next six days fundamentally changed the nature of LGBTQI+ activism in the United States. Following the Stonewall Uprising, organizers built on the spirit of resistance and organized a march to Central Park the next year, adopting the theme of “Gay Pride” to counteract the prevailing attitude of shame. That march down Christopher Street soon expanded to other cities, with many more joining year after year through the 1970s until Pride became the massive month-long celebration that it is today. It’s important to remember that Pride is a political event, and even though it feels like a party, protests have always been embedded in its very reason for existing. Pride has always been a protest against unjust systems, even in the midst of celebrations, parades, parties, and more.
In a Proclamation on Pride Month 2022, the White House writes that, “Today, the rights of LGBTQI+ Americans are under relentless attack. Members of the LGBTQI+ community — especially people of color and trans people — continue to face discrimination and cruel, persistent efforts to undermine their human rights. An onslaught of dangerous anti-LGBTQI+ legislation has been introduced and passed in states across the country, targeting transgender children and their parents and interfering with their access to health care. These unconscionable attacks have left countless LGBTQI+ families in fear and pain. All of this compounded has been especially difficult on LGBTQI+ youth, 45 percent of whom seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year — a devastating reality that our Nation must work urgently to address.”
It’s mystifying that homophobia, racism, sexism, and other forms of injustice are still present in 2022, and unbelievable that they’re so deeply embedded in our institutions, and prevalent in the way our society operates. In some parts of the country – and the world – minorities, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex individuals are increasingly discriminated against, harassed, excluded and marginalized.
This has to change. It is essential to stand up for the rights of all individuals, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. For example, the fight for women’s empowerment is about much more than just equal rights; it is about ensuring that all women have the opportunity to reach their full potential. This includes access to education, healthcare, housing, and employment opportunities. It also means working to end violence against women and girls, and combatting discrimination in all forms. The same issues apply to the fight for LGBTQI+ rights. In fact, joining these important movements is something we all must do to ensure these rights for all human beings.
The LGBTQI+ community has been victimized by decades of discrimination and violence. As President Biden says, “I see you for who you are – deserving of dignity, respect, and support.” Know that we also see you and stand with you. We support the tireless efforts of activists and celebrate every step of progress. While many countries are finally achieving marriage equality and trans rights are slowly being recognized, we realize that there is much more work to do, and many hard-won laws are constantly in jeopardy. We must work together to change attitudes and break down barriers that prevent full inclusion and acceptance. Only then can we truly achieve equality for all.