We’re halfway through Pride Month, when many cities across the nation publicly celebrate being LGTBQIA-plus. This year, during the Stonewall uprising’s 50th anniversary, our community is taking the opportunity to talk about and enliven our history.
In recent years, the LGBTQ-plus community has been at far less risk than our predecessors were in taking to the streets. Still, at every Pride across the nation, protesters show up to degrade and scare us.
Last Sunday, as pioneers from Philly’s Stonewall 50 float approached the end of the parade, they were met with vitriol and insults. Fifty years after two original Gay Liberation Front members fought for safety from police and larger society, they still had to endure Pride protesters.
In Detroit, armed white nationalists and neo-Nazis were given a police escort when they showed up to disrupt Pride. The group from the National Socialist Movement demonstrated Nazi salutes and carried weapons; one was shown urinating on an Israeli flag.
In New York City, police apologized to those at Stonewall the night of the riots. In Philadelphia, a car was painted in the colors of the Pride flag. Yet the LBGTQIA-plus community continues to see discrimination and violence from law enforcement across the country.
On the Friday before Pride, Philadelphia lost a beloved member of our community when 27-year-old Dante Austin, the city’s first-ever out deputy sheriff, died by suicide.
On the streets after Pride, community members met with violence.
Systemic oppression is far from over. Violence against our community is far from being extinguished.
Thus, our resistance and our ability to respond remain paramount. At PGN, we report on violence, grief and terror, but we also see protests and conversations and progress. We see members from a variety of communities speaking up and out. We report on celebrations and unity, as well as dissension.
Pride Month encompasses the need to celebrate, revolt, unify, grieve and learn. This week, we grieve together for our losses and challenges locally, and for the hate we have seen nationally.
This week, we also celebrate the strength, compassion and persistence of our community.
Next week, we’ll ask what’s next.