Happy Pride Month!
The celebration of Pride Month in June began in 1969 with the Stonewall Inn uprising — an event led by Black trans women fighting back against the establishment. On June 28, 1969, police had come to raid the only bar in New York City for gay men that allowed dancing — again — to arrest people for crossdressing and being transgender. Police raids on places gay people congregated were common at the time.
“The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, sparked a liberation movement — a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality,” President Joe Biden wrote in his proclamation recognizing the month. “ Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity.”
Former President Bill Clinton was the first to declare June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999 and again in 2000. Then, from 2009 to 2016, former President Barack Obama declared the month LGBT Pride month, and most recently the Democrat tradition has continued under Biden.
While the LGBTQ+ community in the United States has come a long way since the uprising at Stonewall, there are still many ways the community struggles. A recent, local representation of this struggle is the theft of rainbow Pride flags on Lopez.
As innocuous as it seems to have a piece of fabric stolen — there are underlying implications that can be derived from such an event. The stealing of rainbow flags around the island — which were hung to support and celebrate a young person who felt safe in his community to be himself and live his truth — is an attack. While not a physical attack against people or a specific person, there is violence inherent in the action.
And it wasn’t isolated.
“For all of our progress, there are many States in which LGBTQ+ individuals still lack protections for fundamental rights and dignity in hospitals, schools, public accommodations, and other spaces,” Biden wrote in his proclamation. “Our Nation continues to witness a tragic spike in violence against transgender women of color. LGBTQ+ individuals — especially youth who defy sex or gender norms — face bullying and harassment in educational settings and are at a disproportionate risk of self-harm and death by suicide. Some States have chosen to actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our Nation’s values of inclusivity and freedom for all. … Ending violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community demands our continued focus and diligence.”
Pride Month will continue to be celebrated as long as inequities remain in how members of the LGBTQ+ community are treated compared to cisgender, heterosexual people.
“We’re here, we’re queer. Get used to it.” LGBTQ+ people aren’t going anywhere, no matter how many flags are stolen.