“Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard. One struggle. One Fight.”

-Harvey Milk

         

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When June rolls around nearly every person in the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and anyone else under the rainbow umbrella) Community either dreads it or is ecstatic. Why might you ask is there such a divide?

Let’s start from the beginning. This will be a 3-part series. My name is Mary Glynos. I identify as a lesbian and my pronouns are, She/Her. I am writing this to give a steppingstone to those who maybe struggling with coming out, those who want to learn and to those who dislike my community without notion of who we are. I am doing this to open a healthy dialog of discussion.

This piece will be the reason behind Pride and what lead up to why we celebrate in June. What is the Stonewall Riots? Stonewall is a bar in Greenwich Village NYC. The bar had been raided many times for months yet on this particular evening (June 28, 1969) the patrons had enough. The riot started between patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar and onto the street. It led to 6 days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street.

They were fed with the constant harassment of police and social discrimination. Instead of leaving they gathered together outside the bar growing increasingly agitated. One police officer hit a woman over the head as he forced her into the police van and she shouted out to others to act, they started throwing bottles, pennies, stones and anything they could get their hands on. Stonewall didn’t start the gay rights movement, but it was push in the right direction for LGBTQ+ political activism, leading to numerous gay right organizations.

So why do we celebrate Pride in June?

It is to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. As a result, many Pride events are held during the month of June to recognize the impact LGBTQ+ people have had in the world.

Why do members of our community fear Pride?

There is a fear among our community due to the workforce still in 2020. 4 out of 10 LGBTQ+ workers say they aren’t fully “out” at work. The reason is they aren’t guaranteed workplace protections.

Another reason is still fear of society. You never know if the person walking down the street in front of you may want to attack you knowing you’re in the community. Also fear from the law. Will my kids be taken away, will I lose my health insurance, my house or my life? It’s a fear we all live with everyday including myself.

 

Part 2 will talk about the organizations and what we can do to better the divide.