LGBTQ+ Americans enjoy a level of freedom and acceptance today that would have been unimaginable just 52 years ago when a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s West Village, ignited a riot and the LGBT community’s fight for equality.
The affirmation in 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court of the freedom to marry was a crowning achievement in that struggle — and, certainly, gay Americans today are visible and living authentic lives in all sectors of society including television, politics, government and business.
But also visible today are endless incidents of hate, intolerance, discrimination and violence, especially against trans women. The fact is it’s still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in almost 30 states where there are no state protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Even more concerning, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is on the rise.
“Federal legislation is needed to protect the community as a growing number of states are passing laws restricting LGBTQ rights, and a more conservative Supreme Court has signaled its desire to strengthen religious freedom protections,” warns USA Today.
That federal legislation, in the form of the Equality Act, would amend the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 to extend protections for LGBTQ+ Americans. It’s faced a years-long battle on Capitol Hill but is expected to be considered by Congress soon.
Political observers believe its passage is unlikely.
That’s why the Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival on June 19th is so important. Despite the progress the LGBTQ+ community has made since the Stonewall Inn riot in 1969, the struggle for equality isn’t over.
So come out, celebrate and be visible!
Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Pride!