As Lin-Manuel Miranda once said, “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside."
Hate seizes our attention every day, plain and simple. From terrorism to animal abuse to mass shootings, evil occurs on our screens and creates a dark cloud on our day. But the worst crime of all to have happened is the crime against our own; those seeking acceptance for their sexuality.
On June 12, 2016, a man went into Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed 49 people of the LGBTQ community, making it the worst attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.
Numerous efforts since then have been targeted at suppressing the progressive movement of the LGBTQ community. Things like social discrimination and harassment: refusing people at restaurants and shopping establishments, a ban for transgenders in the military, and the potential revoking of same-sex marriage across the nation.
Because of all the inhumane prejudice the LGBTQ community faces every day, June is a time of the year to dedicate uninhibited love and peace; to come together from all different backgrounds.
For those that identify in the LGBTQ community, this one’s for you. This week, we are dedicating our blog posts to Pride Month and how it came to be. Read below to find out the history of Pride Month, and why we raise awareness for the LGBTQ community.
Pride Month occurs all throughout June in big cities and even small rural towns. But before it was celebrated all over the world with parades, there was Gay Pride Day, where celebrations were reduced to one day out of the year, and there was the Mattachine Society, a gay rights group active in the 1950’s. The only other place the gay community sought refuge were at bars and clubs.
It wasn’t until 1969, with the riots of Stonewall Inn, that change came to an international level.
In the wee hours of a late June morning, the New York City police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay club located outside of Greenwich Village on Christopher Street, and proceeded to roughly escort patrons and employees out of the club. Although police raids on clubs and gay bars were common in New York City at the time, the Stonewall Inn became legend, with minorities, homosexuals, and other members of the community coming together to fight back.
This particular raid sparked an uprising. Passion and anger fueled a six-day protest, thus signifying the beginning of the gay liberation movement. It was filled with violent encounters with authorities, and ended with the bar erupting in flames and fire. (1)
Since then, Stonewall Inn has been remodeled and touted as a national monument. Instead of a day, Pride Month occurs each June to commemorate the horrific, yet transforming events of Stonewall Inn.
The gay rights movement was born.
Debates have come forth deciding if the Stonewall Rebellion was actually the birth of the gay rights movement, but one thing is for certain: it certainly started a new age of political activism. (2)
After Stonewall Inn
Gone was the occasional gay rights organizations. Now that the fight for acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender men and women became unapologetic, a multitude of groups were formed to raise solidarity. Groups like, Human Rights Campaign, OutRage!, GLAAD, PFLAG, the Gay Activists Alliance, the Gay Liberation Front, and Queer Nation. (3)
The impact is as clear as day - one group evolved into well over thousands across the nation, including college campuses, and even primary schools.
Even though Stonewall brought forth the movement of the century, there’s still more to do. Americans human rights are at risk, and unless we continually raise awareness, it may be too late. Here are the different ways you can raise awareness for LGBTQ rights:
1.) Email Your Senator
The people’s wellbeing ultimately end up in the hands of the government. Congress, specifically Senators, have the power to grant rights to our fellow citizens through laws. One way to advocate for the LGBTQ community is to email, mail, or phone your local senator and profess why they deserve rights as much as heterosexuals do. Inform your advocacy on social media with the hashtag #LettertomySenator.
2.) Go to Pride
The best way to raise awareness for the community is to march with them at Pride! Join hand in hand in rainbow and walk with drag queens, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders etc. Stand up for gay power and unify, no matter if you’re straight or questioning.
3.) Contribute to Organizations
Another way you can raise awareness is by donating or joining one of the above mentioned organizations! These groups, and other gay groups, are always looking for advocates to help further the acceptance of all lives. With these organizations, you can go to their website and read their blog, be informed on events, and learn about all the different LGBTQ communities, and many more.
4.) Wear a Wristband
A constant way to raise awareness is to wear LGBTQ Pride wristbands! At Rapid Wristbands, we offer rainbow-colored wristbands that are available at any time. Just click the button below to order yours so you can wear it at Pride! You can even customize it. Look below to see how people in the past have customized their LGBTQ wristbands.
Pride or no Pride, June or not, those that identify with the LGBTQ community deserves to be heard and loved. So many struggle with mental health and suicide due to the consistent oppression thrown their way. Let’s raise a glass to more Pride months until we can all be loved under the same roof.