The King County Council’s Equity and Social Justice Office wishes everyone a Happy Pride Month!
So, what is Pride Month and why do we celebrate this? Historically and presently, the *LGBTQIA+ community have continued to be oppressed and discriminated against despite the countless contributions made to our collective communities. Pride Month exists to highlight that spirit and remember the trials faced by the LGBTQIA+ family. It is also a time to celebrate this community and the joy and pride that comes with these identities. To see the LGBTQIA+ community and all their love, hope, and journeys embraced.
The 1960’s and before were not friendly times for members of the LGBTQIA+ communities and were downright hostile at times. Because of having to hide, many members of the community took to gay bars and clubs—the only places where they could be themselves. It was not uncommon for these spaces to be raided and harassed by the police. In New York City, Stonewall Inn was one of these bars. In the early morning of June 28th, 1969, the police raided Stonewall Inn. After entering the club, they roughed up and harassed patrons then arrested 13 people who were violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statutes. Fed up with the constant social discrimination and police harassment, members of the LGBTQIA+ community decided they had enough. After a police officer had hit a butch lesbian over the head as she was being forcefully arrested, she shouted “why don’t you guys do something?” Immediately, the crowd began to throw anything they could get in their hands to fight back. This event is infamously known as the Stonewall Riots and is typically attributed as the call to action that sparked the gay rights movement in the US.
Even during this joyful month, we cannot forget that the fight for equity and social justice continues. The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking over 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced in the United States, including many that are specific to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. These anti-LGBTQ+ legislation take many forms, but the most common are limiting access to gender-affirming healthcare, limiting access to public facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms, preventing trans students from participating in school activities like sports, and censoring in-school discussions or content of LGBTQ+ people and issues. During this pride month, we urge you to not only celebrate along with us but to also standup for the rights of every member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
What can you do to celebrate Pride Month?
- Educate yourself on the community’s history, terminology, experiences.
- Stay informed on LGBTQIA+ issues.
- Donate and support LGBTQIA+ led or supporting groups and organizations.
- Continue to be an ally!
We hope you all celebrate this vibrant month with us!
*L: Lesbian, G: Gay, B: Bisexual, T: Transgender, Q: Questioning or Queer, I: Intersex, A: Asexual, +: respectfully recognizes other identities such as Two-Spirit, Pansexual, Non-Binary, etc