Pride Month serves as a month of recognition for LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies to come together for the community and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. This year marks 52 years of Pride, where people from across the world commemorate the impacts made by LGBTQIA+ people, pursue education in LGBTQIA+ history and raise awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community.
Equity, justice and humanity have remained at the foundation of the queer rights movement and vision for LGBTQIA+ communities. The Stonewall Riots began following a police raid at a gay bar in the Stonewall Inn in the early hours of June 28, 1969, in Greenwich Village in New York City. The six-day protests sparked the first major turn of events for the LGBTQIA+ rights movement in the U.S. and across the world. The following year, activists gathered for the first Pride March on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The evolution of celebration and transformation of acceptance shows how far LGBTQIA+ rights have come, but in many places, there’s still work to be done.
“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” – Bayard Rustin
Since the Stonewall Riots, advocacy has led to advancements as we look to a timeline of LGBTQIA+ rights and the milestones our country has made during the 21st century:
- June 26, 2003: The U.S. Supreme Court 6-3 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized intimate activity between two consenting adults of the same sex
- May 17, 2004: Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, issuing 78 gay marriage licenses across the state
- September 20, 2011: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which forced queer people to hinder their sexual orientation and gender identity in order to serve in the US military without facing dishonorable discharge, was officially repealed, allowing service members that were previously discharged to re-enlist
- June 26, 2015: With a 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court declares gay marriage legal in all 50 states.
- June 15, 2020: The Supreme Court rules that federal law protects LGBTQIA+ workers from discrimination
- October 7, 2021: The State Department announces that the U.S. had issued the first U.S. passport with an X gender marker, four months after the Department announced updating its procedures to allow participants to self-select a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a U.S. passport or CRBA
In a truly just, equal and equitable world, we would not need Pride because LGBTQIA+ people would not feel the need to have a month to celebrate being proud. This is why pride is still important, so we can work towards a world where every day we wake up and can be out and proud, and honest and true about who we are.
Throughout the year, there are many ways to continue to educate and support others as part of the LGBTQIA+ community and as allies. Sitting down for a cup of coffee and reaching out to a friend, family or colleague who is in the LGBTQIA+ community for a conversation to get to know someone more. Stay up to date on all legislation related to the LGBTQIA+ community to advance the comprehensive nondiscrimination laws. I encourage you all to always keep justice at the forefront of your mind and ensure those who have the least are always in the center of the circle, so everyone in your community can benefit and live life at their happiest.