By Joel S. Slotnick
For 49 years, the month of June has been synonymous with Pride.
From Wikipedia: The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.”
This very important history of our life seems to be fading away. How many people could you walk up to at any LGBTQI event, especially post Baby Boomers; Generation Y–The Millennials, Gen Next, iGen/Gen Z, Gen Alpha, ask them one of the following questions, and get an answer: “What is the Stonewall Riot?” “Where were the Stonewall Riots?” “When was the Stonewall Riot?” It may sound ridiculous to some, however, it’s a reality in today’s America.
Some great things have happened in LGBTQ history since 1969. 1970: The first gay pride marches were held–in multiple cities in the United States on the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. 1973: The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders II, concluding that it is not a mental illness. 1998: Widow of the late Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, spoke out against homophobia in America, despite receiving criticism for comparing Black civil rights to gay rights. 2004: Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage and New Jersey legalized domestic partnerships. 2013: The United States Supreme Court ruled that the key parts of DOMA are unconstitutional and that gay couples are entitled to federal benefits such as Social Security survivor benefits and family leave. 2015: Same-sex marriage laws were passed and came into effect in the United States [nationwide].
Yet, here we are in 2018 and in a time of our lives where we don’t know what tomorrow will bring for the LGBTQ community.
An article dated January 12, 2018 by NBCNews.Com states “At least 129 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced across 30 states during the 2017 state legislative season, according to a new report published by LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Twelve of these bills — which range from adoption laws to “religious freedom” legislation — became law, the report noted.” The article goes on to talk about Parental Rights, Relationship Recognition, Religious Refusal, Non-Discrimination, Hate Crimes, Conversion Therapy, and State Grades.
At the writing of this article, there is approximately 2 years and 7 months left of this presidency. There is a lot of work to do to make sure this administration or anyone else, doesn’t turn back time any further. We owe it to every person who paved the way for us to keep marching on, fighting the fight, and remaining vigilant. We have to do everything possible to educate up and coming generations, so they understand the importance of the history and legacy that got us to today. It is not perfect, but it is far better than 1969.
It is up to each one of us to support one another if we expect others to support us. Let’s do it with Pride today and the other 364 days of the year. We’re not only LGBTQ persons one day of the year.
I leave you with the words of Chris Colfer: “There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s a lot wrong with the world you live in.”