Pride month comes to a close soon, and with events winding down after the massive NYC March, there seemed to be a sense of urgency this month. We’ve been hearing a lot about how the pride events are marches, started from riots, are political statements, demands for equality, and so on. Their histories have never changed, but the community has just lost sight of its origins over the last 40+ years. After a series of relatively recent events, the community has reached a fevered pitch once again and we’ve begun to return to our roots. Two years ago, we erupted in celebration as SCOTUS announced marriage equality across the nation. Last year, we mourned in response to Pulse. This year, we are rising up again to fight back against political travesties and to remember we are far from being treated as equals in the eyes of society and the law, most especially the transgender community.
“..these events were always meant to be protests and marches..”
Back in March of this year, the L.A. organizers announced they were changing their event from a “parade” to a “protest march” this year. The problem is – these events were always meant to be protests and marches, and it seems that NYC is the one location that has held on to that concept. Perhaps because it makes a point to pass through the iconic Stonewall Inn where this all began and the date of the march itself is always at the end of June to be as close to the original date of the initial riot as possible (while still being on a Sunday).
While the community does have things to celebrate, it’s actually very little when you really look into the heart of the matter. Even though SCOTUS declared that same-sex marriage/marriage equality is legal, many individual states have put up roadblocks and countering lawsuits that still, two years after its announcement, prevent many people from getting married. Our right to not be fired for the simple fact that’s we’re gay/lesbian didn’t pass until earlier this year, but everywhere else except for the city of New York we can still be fired because we’re transgender. We are still battling for the right to pee in a public bathroom, we are frequently hunted, and we are losing what precious little ground we gained at an alarming rate thanks to 45.
While we need to embrace the gloriousness of pride, the joyous side where we can be free to be who we want and embrace others in a true celebration of diversity, we have a long way to go before we can call any of these events parades and in many cases, our own inter-community segregation needs to stop. We need to see more inclusion of religions rather than kicking them out, we need to see greater representation of our natives, people of color, and our Hispanic populations. We need to have a balance of the outlandish and the political, the glitter and glam, with reminders of why we are here every year. We need a stronger calling back to our own origins, and it was beautiful to see Marsha P. Johnson represented so much more this year. It was wonderful to see a transgender flag in almost every group this year, while in comparison to last year, you had to hunt to find one.
“Inequality. It wears different faces but it’s always the same monster..”
The next two years are going to be incredibly important to our entire community and not just in the month of June. Next year will be the mid-term elections and the following year will be the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. We have to stop the in-fighting within all the LGBT communities, stop the nit-picking, stop the overall BS, and come together. We all have a common enemy, we always have. Inequality. It wears different faces but it’s always the same monster, so stop expending all this wasted energy on fighting one another (and turning our backs on our cis/het allies) and turn it on the real enemy that’s right in front of you.
It is our time to rise once more. We are a tremendous force to be reckoned with as we grow in numbers and supporters since the beginning. There was a record number 40,000 marchers in the NYC march this year with roughly 2-2.5 million spectators on the sidelines along with those viewing at home on the first ever, in the whole world, televised LGBT pride march. We can only be stopped if we keep tripping over our own feet and keep pushing each other down. Stand up, help others up, and RISE UP!