This June we celebrate not only PRIDE month, but also the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. On June 28th 1969, the Stonewall Inn in Lower Manhattan, New York City was raided by police. The Stonewall Inn served customers from even the most marginalized intersections of the LGBTQ+ community, including homeless youth, and those who dressed in drag. Many restaurants and bars at the time refused to serve those who were openly LGBTQ+.
Police raids on gay establishments were common during this period of time. Residents in the area, as well as patrons of the Stonewall Inn were fed up with the police harassment they had endured, and a riot broke out and the conflict lasted for days. After Stonewall, LGBTQ+ centered organizations began being founded, and the community began to embrace a more inclusive representation of people. Before Stonewall, only whites who dressed a certain way were allowed to represent the LGBTQ+ community in NYC. After the riots, things changed drastically.
On June 28, 1970, the first gay pride marches occurred in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. This month, we celebrate what LGBTQ+ activists are calling “WorldPride NYC | Stonewall 50,” to honor the 50 year anniversary since Stonewall. New York City is expecting over 3 million people to participate in all the events, which will take place during the entire month of June. If one thing is clear, it’s that these events in June radiate diversity and inclusion.
On of the NYC events, “GameChangers” scheduled for June 25th features Leyna Bloom, a biracial trans actor, model and pioneer for the trans persons of color community. Leyna was the first trans woman of color to appear in Vogue India last year.
In North Carolina, there’s also a long list of LBGTQ+ centered events.
- In Hendersonville on June 15th, there will be a “Picnic and Stonewall Concert.”
- In Durham on June 15th, there will be “Orgullo Latinx: Latinx Pride 2019.”
- “Salisbury Pride” will take place on June 22nd.
- Elizabeth City will have a “PrideFest” on June 29th.
- The city of Fayetteville will have both a “PrideFest” on June 29th, as well as “Fayetteville Black Pride 2019” on August 15-18.
For a complete list of events check out this link.
The Pride movement has come so far, diversity and inclusion run deep. The community has been very intentional about including all. There are still some things that need to be worked on, the inclusion of asexuals, as an example. My friend Luciano Joshua Gonzalez reminds us, “as a queer person from a community that is constantly subjected to gate-keeping from other LGBTQ+ folks, let me be the first voice that many of my pals will hear say. Asexuals are queer and I do not for one second accept gate-keepers telling me we aren’t.”
It’s important in movement building work we not romanticize the perfection of our communities. We can celebrate our strengths, while at the same time recognizing our weaknesses and being very intentional on working toward solutions. After hearing about the asexual issue in the LGBTQ+ community, I wanted to learn more, so I set out on a quest for more information. I learned new terms in the process.
The term “ace” (a shortened word for asexual) is a person who has little to no sexual desire, period. My friend Luciano described himself as an “biromantic asexual,” which means a person that is attracted to two or more genders, including their own. A person who is a biromantic asexual may seek out relationships that offer companionship and intimacy, however they may not necessarily be sexually attracted to their partners.
I resonated with Luciano’s story, mostly because when I was a teenager, I was not sexually attracted to males or females. I sought out partnerships that offered me support and affection, but I wasn’t sexually attracted to those with which I was involved. I had so many adults just tell me I was “confused,” but I beg to differ. I was forcibly put on birth control at 15 years old because I was told it wasn’t possible that I wasn’t sexually active, and nobody believed that I just wasn’t interested. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I began to understand my own sexual orientation.
PRIDE is a yearly celebration of difference and equity. Join me, Women AdvaNCe and LBGTQ+ folks on diverse and rich journeys in celebrating PRIDE 2019.
Women AdvaNCe Leadership Team