Happy Pride Month! As we slowly but surely come out of this pandemic we wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe pride month and take a moment to celebrate the wins the LGBTQ+ community has achieved. LGBTQ+ justice, environmental justice, and racial justice are all inextricably linked in our ongoing fight for justice.
As a queer Black man, “Pride” brings up a lot for me — and it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. For me, it seems that white cis men have dictated who gets to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community and what can and can not be a LGBTQ+ issue. But this isn’t isolated to the gay rights movement. We see this in the environmental movement as well, a movement that for so long has been centered around white people, despite people of color facing disproportionate impacts of pollution and climate change.
This year, it is especially important to celebrate Pride and the wins the community has achieved. At its core, Pride is a way to normalize queerness in our society. This year alone, we’ve seen the White House reversing the Trump era transgender ban on the military, Nevada joining a small but growing list of states teaching LGBTQ+ history in schools, and Karine Jean-Pierre becoming the first queer black woman to serve as the Principal Deputy Press Secretary. These are all important wins, but not the end of this fight.
Black trans women are still disproportionately impacted by violence. There are still many ways people can legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ folks, from denying housing and loans, to anti-trans sports bans, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the worst years in recent memory as we witness the most anti-LGBTQ legislation enacted since 2015 on the state level.
As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see LGBTQ+ folks and particularly those of color disproportionately impacted by healthcare, housing, and pay discrimination. Combined with the extreme heat of the upcoming summer months, people experiencing homelessness (a large percentage of them being BIPOC LGBTQ+ youth) are more vulnerable to the extreme weather that comes as a result of climate change.
This isn’t just a “queer” issue, it’s a BIPOC issue — and it needs to be EVERYONE’S issue. That’s why it’s so critical that as environmentalists, we celebrate and bring queer people into our movement. The environmental justice movement needs social justice, or we will never win the future we dream of.
So, what can you do? The first step — always — is to educate yourself, to expose yourself to the experiences of more LGBTQ+ people, and identify ways you may be holding up dangerous systems. Then it’s time to put that learning into action.
We’ve pulled together a very non-exhaustive list for you. You can start here, but then do your own research to find more!
Watch these movies and shows:
Disclosure – a Netflix documentary produced by Laverne Cox on trans representation in popular media
Pose – a Netflix show that has the largest cast of trans actors as series regulars on a scripted show, depicts the 1980s New York ball scene
Special – A mostly autobiographical series from Ryan O’Connell, a comedy that explores the intersections of disability and queerness
Read these books:
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde (and all of her books)
Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia
We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Listen to these podcasts:
Outward by Slate
If only there were a way to find more information on literally any topic with just a few taps of your fingers. Oh, there is. Get Googling!
As you wave your rainbow flags this month, never forget that the first pride action was at Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City, in 1969. Police raided the bar, and a group of protesters led by Black trans women, fed up with the recurring harassment that was so prevalent at the time, took a stand and started to riot. That and the days of demonstrations throughout the city that followed are widely seen as the catalyst for the LGBT civil rights movement in the United States.
We owe how far we’ve come to them — and we owe it to them to keep fighting for equality.
Keep learning, keep acting, keep fighting,
Richard Gallon is the Organizing Manager for Defend Our Future.