Celebrating Pride Month!

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Happy Pride Month! Every June, we celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer folks. It is a time to highlight diverse expressions of sexuality and gender identity. We speak on equality, education, and visibility for LGBTQ+ folks. While we do celebrate with colorful flags, parades, and parties, what are we actually celebrating?

Let’s throw back to New York City in the 1960s, the site of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ population. The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York opened its doors as a safe-haven for the community with drinks and dance, even though the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a mental disorder. Local law enforcement made sure to oust queer folks to uphold the stigma, with NYC police squads frequently raiding gay bars (the Stonewall Inn included). Bar-goers and police see-sawed between shutting down the Inn and reopening again.

Fast forward to the morning of June 28th, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn. What was meant to be the usual altercation quickly escalated into violent arrests and police brutality. Crowds amassed, protests erupted, and police lost control. This sparked weeklong resistance during what we now know as the Stonewall Riots: the impetus for the Gay Liberation Movement and one of the core reasons to celebrate Pride Month.

The riots and uprisings gained traction across the United States, creating a grassroots revolution for gay rights. We must remember the marginalized queer folks who resisted and suffered at the hands of violence, even though they were considered sub-human at best. Let us thank the brave fighters who struggled for liberation and visibility. 

Clearly, the work towards equality is still not done. While SCOTUS passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage, this cannot and should not undermine the continuous violence against queer folks (especially queer people of color). In the wake of the shooting at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, we stand in solidarity with the victims of this recent shooting. We remember their names and continue to fight.

So let’s celebrate Pride Month however we can - whether by attending a parade, a protest, or even drag bingo at the Stonewall Inn that still stands today. Let’s understand what this community has faced, and hope for greater revolutions in the future.

xoxo,

Jaslin Kaur

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