Since I was a kid, the rainbow-colored flags flowing in the streets during the month of June in New York City and other major cities always made me curious. Gradually, I learned that all these marches, parades and picnics are hosted for a single reason: Pride.
Pride commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall Raids and is a celebration of the global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and related communities (LGBT+) by the global LGBT+ community and its allies.
While the LGBT+ community is not visibly present in some countries, it is becoming more and more visible in the United States, and other countries hosting pride events, from Norway to Japan. From the national level to the local level, Pride is doing what it was intended to do: to paint a different picture of the LGBT+ community and to increase the community’s visibility as its own distinct social group.
In fact, this year, in commemoration of Pride, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced that California would fly the famous rainbow-colored flag, a symbol of LGBT+ pride, over the State Capitol of California. According to Newsom, “By flying the pride flag over the State Capitol, we send a clear message that California is welcoming and inclusive to all, regardless of how you identify or who you love.”
However, despite Newsom’s message of inclusion, some members of the Black LGBT+ community feel that Pride events can be, as the headline of a Guardian article says, “Too straight, white and corporate.” In the Guardian article, journalist Sam Levin follows self-identified queer (queer meaning people who identify with a sexual identity outside the societal norm) people of color at a San Francisco Pride Parade after the Orlando Nightclub Shooting in June 2016. For many of his interviewees, who are racial minorities and low-income queer people, the events at Pride seem to be dominated by corporations and white people. According to David J. Johns, Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, in a CNN article, “Pride month, to be clear, is an extension of Black History Month.”
This perception that Pride events do not always include the black LGBT+ community has not only been a problem in San Francisco. In 2017, NBC News similarly covered developments at the Atlanta Pride in Georgia, in which LGBT+ people of color described feeling that Pride events focused more so on the white community, spurring Jamie Green-Ferguson, the executive director of Atlanta Pride, to say in a published message that “Atlanta Pride, contrary to popular belief, is not a white LGBTQ organization.”
Still, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch, says, “There’s been enormous progress globally and locally.”
So, if you were curious about Pride Month and its significance, here’s your debrief. Still interested? More resources are available online, and many Pride events have advertisements on Facebook. And if you are particularly interested in learning more about the black queer movement, CNN posted an interesting article on seven important black LGBT+ leaders in honor of Juneteenth, the day slavery was abolished, and Pride Month.
ARHSG (A Recent High School Graduate), as the name suggests, just recently graduated from high school in New Jersey, and is currently interning at SuzyKnew! ARHSG will give you opinions on life and relationships, especially as it pertains to youth.