Standing in Solidarity: Celebrating Pride This June
For over 50 years, we’ve celebrated June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Pride has its roots in the 1969 Stonewall riots, where it has been said that Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender sex worker, threw a single brick that sparked the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement. There are varying views on who, if anyone, actually threw the brick that first night. But it is undisputed that trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Major Griffin-Gracie, and black lesbians and drag kings such as Stormé DeLarverie, played a key role in the events surrounding the Stonewall riots - and in the following decades of organizing and activism. Today, people all over the world, from Los Angeles to London and Lisbon, join together to celebrate Pride as part of one of the world’s largest human rights demonstrations.
This June feels different, though.
The pandemic has altered the ways we live and come together as a community. Our streets are not filled with Pride floats and revelers, but rather protesters demanding justice as part of a long-overdue racial reckoning. Added to that, just last week we saw the killings of two black trans women, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells of Philadelphia and Riah Milton of Liberty Township, Ohio. The Human Rights Campaign has called the specter of violence facing the black trans community its own national epidemic. And last Friday, on the same day we observed the 4th anniversary of the attacks at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, whose 49 victims were overwhelmingly LGBTQ+ and Latinx people, the trans community saw critical healthcare discrimination protections reversed.
We’ve come so far, and yet have so far to go.
At Duo, we reaffirm our stance that LGBTQ+ rights are human rights. We know that we've come far (including this week’s landmark Supreme Court workplace discrimination ruling), but have yet to reach the finish line in the journey to fully secure the right to equality and freedom from discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community. Over the last several years, for many within the LGBTQ+ community, it has felt like a “whiplash of LQBTQ protections and rights.” If we factor in race and take an honest look at where we stand today, we see that we have much further to go in ensuring a just and equitable future for all. For example, systemic issues between black people, police and the jailing system extend to the trans community as well, with the trans community being 7x more likely to experience physical violence with police than non-trans people and nearly 50% of the trans community having experienced incarceration.
As an ally, in addition to exercising your right to vote, contacting your elected officials to help hold them accountable for securing and protecting the rights of people in the LGBTQ+ community are critical acts of solidarity.
Celebration is an act of both solidarity and survival.
For allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community, while this June feels different and a bit less celebratory, please know that it is possible to celebrate - and to do so while standing in solidarity with the black community and acknowledging intersectionality with communities of color. Don’t forget that pursuing joy and hope during these times can often be a critical act of survival, especially for members of marginalized communities. For those who have fought and for the gains that were made, we celebrate. We also celebrate in the hopes of an ever-brighter future.
This Pride, I hope you celebrate, and that you don’t forget to remember why we do or that the marathon for equality continues.
Below are ways you can help support the fight for LGBTQ+ equality
How to Support & Learn More
Organizations to Support:
Resources for more information:
Stonewall Uprising, a PBS documentary about the Stonewall riots
The Human Rights Campaign information on being an effective ally
The Urgency of Intersectionality, a TED Talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a critical race theory scholar who developed the theory of intersectionality
What was Stonewall?, a children’s book explaining the significance of the Stonewall Riots
Them, centered on the LGBTQ+ community, this is an online magazine providing news and commentary on culture, politics, and more
Learn more about Duo's Culture here.