June 26, 2017
June is LGBT Pride Month
The month of June has held many milestones for minoritized sexualities and gender identities. The Stonewall Riots — June 28, 1969 — that have become known as the catalyst for the LGBT rights movement and Supreme Court rulings such as Lawrence v. Texas — striking down sodomy laws as unconstitutional on June 26, 2003 — United States v. Windsor — striking down the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26, 2013 — Hollingsworth v. Perry — striking down California's Proposition 8 on June 26, 2013 — and Obergefell v. Hodges — legalizing marriage equality on June 26, 2015. These are only a few of the hard-won battles that minoritized sexualities and gender identities have worked for over the decades.
LGBT Pride parades, celebrations and festivals are held in cities and communities around the world. Mostly occurring in June in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, LGBT Pride events are a celebration of openness and affirmation against transphobia and homophobia. Many of these events are massive displays of unity and affirmation that draw thousands of individuals. But even small communities celebrate Pride events and the number of communities and cities are growing each year. Even here in Manhattan our Sexuality and Gender Alliance works with community members to host the Little Apple Pride celebration, an event that has grown substantially over only a few short years.
Often individuals will question why the LGBTQ community needs a Pride celebration or even have June deemed as Pride month. There are many answers for this but perhaps the one that explains the most is that in the face of adversity, of discrimination and of violence there are individuals who need to celebrate and affirm their existence as a sexuality or gender identity minority. Our communities need that affirmation that we are visible, that we persist. For those who don't understand why or that condemn the LGBTQ community celebrating June as Pride Month or why there are LGBTQ Pride events the answer is that they should be thankful that they do not need a day, a week, a month — just a few moments out of a year — where they can be themselves openly and celebrate their community.
Today in the United States we have come much further toward our goals of equality. Yet, just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not erase racism, Supreme Court rulings have not erased homophobia and transphobia. LGBTQ youth have much higher rates of homelessness and suicide. There are no federal protections in employment, housing, or education. Homophobia and transphobia are present in our lives every day as there is also racism, misogyny, xenophobia and religious discrimination. There are still many battles yet to be fought and won for so many minoritized communities.
Here at K-State we have worked hard to expand our definition of diversity and of inclusion. We have affirmed through our Principles of Community and our nondiscrimination policies that we will not tolerate discrimination. If you see something or experience discrimination, say something. Report discrimination to the Office of Institutional Equity at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can address the inequity and phobias that still do exist. And above all, be proud of who you are and continue to persist.