How is it that things have moved backward in America? I feel a greater need to wave my pride flag, at least metaphorically, than I have in years.
Just last month, I quoted Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about the xenophobia that targets many folks. “They started by finding marginalized groups to demonize to unite people around a common enemy… to hate. Then they launched overwhelming campaigns of disinformation that ensured the people didn’t know what actually was happening in the world, only what they wanted them to know.”
It’s astounding how much misinformation – strike that: DISINFORMATION – is being spread about LGBTQ+ people.
An NBC News story on June 1: Companies under fire as Pride Month kicks off. “Some corporations are stepping into a fierce fight over transgender issues in the U.S. Target, Bud Light and Kohl’s are just a few of the companies getting backlash. ” And so is Chick-Fil-A?
To that end, this is from the Boston Globe. “From campy to controversial: How drag queens became a target of conservative lawmakers. The performers have gone from being the life of the party to facing tough restrictions and open animosity.”
From the LA Times on June 2: Police stepped in to split up protesters in a tense scene outside a North Hollywood elementary school as more than 100 parents rallied against a Pride Day assembly, bringing to a head weeks of turmoil that saw a transgender teacher’s LGBTQ+ Pride flag burned.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ civil rights group, issued its first State of Emergency in its 40-plus year history, citing a record number of bills across state legislatures targeted at regulating the lives of queer people.
Several media outlets report that the Proud Boys plan to escalate their presence during Pride Month. “In private Telegram groups, Proud Boys have planned to counter Pride events by ‘taking back June’ with a so-called ‘Proud Month’ that would, as one militia member put it, ‘challenge this perversion of the Nuclear Family and Gender.” Proud Boys also plan to disrupt and co-opt Juneteenth celebrations with coordinated ‘Proud Day’ events “to break the chains of Pride Month” on June 17, two days before.”
The fight continues
Thus it becomes incumbent for allies to stay vocal and visible. The straight, cisgender Weekly Sift guy, notes, “I have attended Pride parades or seen drag shows. I’ve always found such events uplifting and life-affirming. I’ve never felt like anyone was telling me I should be gay or trans or anything else. The point is that we can all be what we are, and maybe even what we want to be.
“I see LGBTQ Pride as a little like ‘Black Lives Matter’; it’s a response to a negative. So often, our society sends the message that Black lives don’t matter, or that being anything other than heterosexual is shameful or sinful. Simply saying ‘I’m not ashamed of what I am’ doesn’t seem nearly strong enough, so I fully support people expressing pride in themselves.”
The AFL-CIO notes: “We fight for all working people—no matter the gender, race, ethnicity or any other identity. Those identities intersect with your own identity as a worker, as a parent, as a sibling. In America, we believe all people should be able to work without fear of discrimination or violence… LGBTQ+ people still lack basic federal legal protections in the workplace, which make them vulnerable to recent appalling and shameful actions by state legislatures. We have no tolerance for hate in our movement.” Amen.