June is very important for the LGBTQ+ community as we are currently celebrating pride month. Pride brings in millions of tourists each year worldwide for their festivals, parades and events. Each pride aims to send a strong message of togetherness and unity, something we all need right now. Currently stuck in lockdown, all pride festivals have been postponed but that has not stopped everybody from the community coming together.
The biggest yearly event honours the influential people who began the gay rights movements. Historic acts such as the Stonewall riots will forever be remembered as the moment the community had enough of being treated like outcasts. Pride month isn’t all about colourful celebrations it is also a time to remember and pay respects to all the influential people who pathed the way for the LGBTQ+ community. Without the protesting, without the fighting and without the incredible activists who never gave up their beliefs, there simply wouldn’t be a pride.
Stonewall was the first act of resilience and fight against hatred and discrimination. 51 years ago the Stonewall riots began inside New York City’s Greenwich Village. On June 28th 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn which was a well renowned gay club where they roughly hauled employees and guests out of the bar. This was a time when LGBTQ relations were illegal, this is why these clubs were the only places people can seek refuge and solace. Even then it was taken away from them and that’s when the community had enough and decided to fight for their rights as a human being.
In the early morning of June 28th 1969, police raided Stonewall Inn surprisingly as it was not tipped off. Armed with a warrant, police officers entered Stonewall Inn and arrested 13 people including employees because of gender-appropriate clothing statute. Even female officers would take suspected cross-dressing patrons into the bathroom to check their sex.
This was not a one time thing and the LGBTQ+ community had enough. They grew tired of the hatred, harassment and social discrimination targeted towards them. This was the beginning of their fight for equality. Angry patrons and residents of the neighbourhood stayed around the bar instead of dispersing. This angered the police force and decided to use brutality to split them up. One officer even unprovoked hit a lesbian round the head as he forced her into the police-van. Before that lady entered the vehicle she had one more plea to the onlookers which was to act against this injustice.
They listened. Protestors began to throw pennies, cobble stones, bottles and other objects they could find to throw at the police. Within minutes of the first altercation, a riot with over hundreds of people commenced. the police, a few prisoners and a village voice writer barricaded themselves in the bar which the mob attempted to set on fire after breaching this barricade. Although the fire department and a riot squad eventually doused the flames rescuing those inside Stonewall bedew diapering the crowd.
This was only the beginning. As over the next five days protests grew, a stronger message was issued and change was made. With thousands of people protesting inside Stonewall at one point they never gave up and the size only grew into what it is today. A year on from the Stonewall riots, thousands of people marched in the streets of Manhattan from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park shouting ‘say it loud, gay is proud’ in what became America’s first gay pride parade. We thankfully now live in a world where millions of members of the LGBTQ+ community come together each year to pay honour to the people who fought for change and equality for us. The trail makers, the people who gave us our voice, the difference makers.
The Stonewall riots 1969
Marsha P. Johnson
One of these inspirational people who fought for change was Marsha P. Johnson who was a black trans woman who threw the first brick at the Stonewall riots. Marsha spent her life fighting for change not only within the LGBTQ+ community but as an advocate for black lives too. She was a spearhead for early gay liberation movements and Marsha will always be regarded as somebody who put her life second and fighting for change first.
A crucial person within the history of the community Marsha fought for LGBTQ+ rights right until the day she was murdered. Despite being missing for over 6 days, Marsha’s body was found in the Hudgson River where the NYPD classed her death as suicide. The reaction was different for people who knew Marsha who suspected foul play. You can find out more about this story from the Netflix documentary about Marsha titled ‘The death and life of Marsha P. Johnson. It’s now our time to stand up and fight for change. We owe it to everybody who stood up, fought and protested for change to use our platforms, raise our voices and be the difference.
Tete / Otis Gulley
This is sadly still happening today following the tragic murder of a queer black trans women named Tete Gulley who was found hanging from a tree in Portland, Oregon on May 27th 2019.
Despite this being a very tragic murder the police ruled the death on the scene as a suicide and are not investigating further due to “lack of public interest.” Tete’s mother is still awaiting the paperwork from Tete’s autopsy and Instagram pages such as @JusticeForTetewith over 2,000 followers wants to prove their is tons of support for Tete’s justice. Petitions have also been set up to help show your support you can click the link here.With over 590,000 signatures already, we are halfway there to reaching the goal. Please read up on these important news because you can really make a difference in fighting for justice.
Marsha P. Johnson and Tete Gulley
Nowadays pride is all about celebrating who you are no matter your background, sexuality, race or beliefs. We are all equal and are fighting for a similar passion. Even over half a century since the Stonewall riots the gay community still suffer from discrimination and abuse on a daily basis.
This is why there needs to be a month to allow the community to reflect, educate and make an impact for the future. The LGBTQ+ community has made some incredible strides for equality and pride month is a constant reminder we must not give up and keep fighting. Despite the postponement of the celebrations this year because of the world-wide Coronavirus pandemic the importance of honouring the LGBTQ+ communities history remains.
This year is all about helping others who need it most and pride month is just the same. We are currently witnessing protests all around the world in support of the Black Lives Matters movement which is something all lGBTQ+ community members should join together in. Stonewall was a riot too, hopefully these protests will make a similar impression and put the world on notice that change needs to happen. Here is a way the lGBTQ+ community can be an ally to black people courtesy of PinkNews.
Global Pride – 27th June 2020
It has been announced on the 1st April this year that on Saturday 27th June, we will witness the first ever global pride. This event will bring pride organisations from across the world together for the first time ever. ‘Partnerships between InterPride, the European Pride organisers Association, and national Pride networks in several countries.’ Alongside the amazing organisations taking part, the event is. being led by a team of volunteers from every region of the world.They are all coming together to snore that everyone, everywhere still gets to experience pride this year. ‘With musical and artistic performances, speeches from activists and campaigners, and addresses by public figures’ their will be a 24 hour stream full of content. This assures that nobody will be at a loss and will all be able to get their piece of pride from all round the world.
‘The show will be livestreamed on the Global Pride website, on YouTube and on other platforms yet to be announced. Crucially, all will be free to view’.
With over 300 million viewers expected to watch the 24-hour steam, you will be able to see some very special guests including Prime Ministers, Princes and A-List celebrities confirmed. Royalty such as Prince Manvendra Singh Gohilof India who will speak and perform. The President of Costa Rica, Prime Ministers of Canada, Norway, Luxembourg and Ireland and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will also share some uplifting words for the lGBTQ+ community amid the global coronavirus pandemic. These powerful figures are coming together to reflect the theme that despite the postponements of the pride celebrations this year “the spirit of Pride will live on.”
Alongside these famous figures – queer icons and allies also include The Pussycat Dolls, Rita Ora, Stephen Fry, Adam Lambert, Kesha, Ava Max, Olivia Newton John, Courtney Act, Jake Shears, Dixie Chicks and Deborah Cox have all been announced for the event.
Global Pride, the first-ever worldwide gathering of the LGBT+ community, has announced it will put Black Lives Matter at the centre of their event. “The Pride and Black Lives Matter movements share histories of being founded by LGBTI people of colour, and of being founded to fight systemic, cultural and institutional intolerance and discrimination,” Steve Taylor, one of the organisers, told Forbes
“It’s only right that we use Global Pride to raise the voice of people of colour from within our community, and so many Prides have already provided content that really shouts the Black Lives Matter message loud and clear.”
This is an unprecedented event that without Covid-19 we would have never been able to witness but that will only increase the importance of it. People all around the world, despite your face, religion, beliefs or sexuality you are all welcome to join the biggest pride broadcast of the year. If you wish to donate to the event too there is some incredible charities that need your help. Global pride have announced “100% of these funds are given in grants to grassroots Pride and LGBTI+ organisations across the world, to help further the Pride movement and campaign for LGBTI+ equality and human rights. You can donate to these LGBTQ+ charities by clicking here.
Alongside this the trans community have recently faced fears of the UK government rollbacking on their equality. This came from an announcement inside in the Sunday Times on June 14th where the plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act were being shelved. This plan will tighten the screw of exclusion for trans people from single-sex spaces. This is against their human rights excluding trans women from women’s spaces such as toilets they’re legally allowed to use. The thread of these rollback to trans rights cannot be overstated. As Gender Intelligence stated “Please do not allow trans lives to be used as a pawn in a game they didn’t ask to play.”
We need to reform the Gender Recognition Act. If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community please do your part and stand up for these demographics who need you most. Write to your local MP’s here and email your Prime Minister showing your support for trans equality and urging the Government to give trans people the support and recognition they deserve. You can access a templated email here Gendered Intelligence’s email template.
Secondly you can educate yourself, as Stonewall wrote “Two in five trans people (41%) have experienced a hate crime in the last year, and two-thirds of trans young people (64%) are bullied in school just for being who they are. You need to be aware of the struggles Trans people face on the daily even struggling to get basic health care as Stonewall UK also said “Most trans people have to wait at least 18 (!) months to get their 1st appointment at a Gender Identity Service – some wait up to 3 years. With COVID-19, it’s getting worse. This is stopping many trans people from getting the healthcare support they need.”
Lastly you can donate to charities dedicated to Trans and Black rights, sign petitions and take part in any protests near your area to help raise awareness, spread the word and use your platform to make a difference.
This year’s pride will go down in history as one of the most memorable ones but sadly for the wrong reasons. A year full of loss, discrimination and fear for the LGBTQ+ community, this is just another barrier we need to break down.
We will make it through this and one day we all will reunite after this virus and will only make the community return stronger together. From Birmingham to Berlin, New York to Naples, London to Lisbon we all will become unified one again.
Pride month is the most important time of the year for people in the lGBTQ+ community, I hope this article has helped educate yourself on why. We need to keep the communication going, that is the only way we can issue change. Spread any important LGBTQ+ news you find, educate yourselves on what is happening worldwide and contribute to change. We have seen how impactful we can be by speaking up and using our platforms so I highly suggest taking the words of Desmond Tutu “If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
You are now aware of the history of how pride began, now it’s your chance to shape pride’s future. Donate to LGBTQ+ charities, sign petitions for government law changes, Read up on the issues and use your platform to make a difference.